Longstreth v. Longstreth Divorce Appeal
Tennessee Court Decision.

Authoring Judge: Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III

The issues on appeal arise from a final decree of divorce following a 27-year marriage in which Wife is clearly the economically disadvantaged spouse. The trial court awarded Wife the divorce, divided the property, and awarded Wife alimony in futuro and approximately one-third of the attorney’s fees she requested. Both spouses appeal. Husband contends the trial court erred by awarding Wife alimony in futuro, insisting she could be rehabilitated. Husband also contends Wife had sufficient resources to pay all of her attorney’s fees. Wife challenges the division of property and seeks to recover all of the attorney’s fees she incurred at trial and in this appeal. Both parties challenge the trial court’s decision to include, sua sponte, a mathematical formula pursuant to which alimony will be modified in the future based solely on the parties’ future income thresholds. We agree with the parties that the trial court erred by incorporating an automatic modification of alimony that is based solely on future income thresholds. We affirm the award of alimony in futuro to Wife; however, we vacate that portion of the alimony award that purports to automatically modify alimony based on future income thresholds. We affirm the division of property. We find that Wife should be awarded $18,105.75 of the $29,141 in attorney’s fees and litigation expenses she claims she incurred at trial. Therefore, we modify the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees Wife incurred at trial. As for Wife’s fees incurred on appeal, we find that she is entitled to recover the reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees incurred on appeal.

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