Tennessee case abstract on setting apart a divorce settlement.

Brian Lee Higdon v. Aehui Nmi Higdon

Former Spouse Can’t Undue Settlement She Signed

The husband and spouse on this Rutherford County, Tennessee, case met in South Korea the place the husband was deployed in the US Air Power.  They have been married in 1993 and had one daughter, who was over the age of majority when the husband filed for divorce in 2018.  The husband’s lawyer drafted a marital dissolution settlement.  The spouse was not represented by an lawyer at the moment, and he or she signed the settlement, which was filed with the trial courtroom together with affidavits from each spouses.  Particularly, the settlement didn’t award the spouse any portion of the husband’s navy pension.  The settlement was permitted by the courtroom.

The following 12 months, the spouse employed an lawyer and made a movement to put aside the decree.  She alleged that she believed the lawyer was representing each of them.  She additionally alleged that she didn’t perceive the settlement and that the husband didn’t disclose belongings.  She additionally alleged that she felt threatened.

The case was heard by Choose Darrell Scarlett, who denied the spouse’s movement.  The spouse testified that she was dwelling in Korea on the time of the divorce and that she had obtained a letter from the husband’s lawyer, however that possibly she didn’t learn it.

When the spouse returned to Tennessee to attend the daughter’s faculty commencement, she stayed with the husband.  She testified that she was threatened into signing the settlement.  In help of this, she testified that he had a gun secure that had many weapons in it, however didn’t elaborate.

Dissatisfied with the result, the spouse appealed to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals.  It first famous that evaluate was de novo upon the file, however with a presumption of correctness of factual findings.

The appeals courtroom additionally famous that setting apart an earlier judgment is an distinctive treatment, and the burden of proof is on the occasion searching for to have it put aside.

The appeals courtroom famous that the case hinged on the testimony of the events, and trial courts are given a excessive diploma of deference in making determinations of credibility.  After reviewing the proof, it discovered that the spouse had failed to fulfill the burden to have the judgment put aside.

The courtroom did go on to evaluate the settlement and whether or not it was unconscionable.  Nevertheless it discovered that the settlement was not essentially inequitable.

For these causes, the Court docket of Appeals affirmed the decrease courtroom, and remanded the case for assortment of prices.  It additionally assessed the prices of attraction in opposition to the spouse.

No. M2019-02281-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 29,  2020).

See unique opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here