Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Modification of an alimony award is factually driven, calling for a careful balance of many factors. The trial court is given wide latitude, and its decision will not be disturbed unless it is not supported by the evidence or is contrary to the public policies reflected in the applicable statutes. Therefore, the decision of the trial court will not be disturbed unless it evidences an abuse of discretion.
This was a post-divorce alimony case. Appellant husband a Michael Lynn Martindale and appellee wife Margo Miller Martindale were divorced and appellee was awarded rehabilitative alimony for seven years. The parties had four minor children at the time of divorce. The chancery court extended the rehabilitative alimony until the youngest of the parties' four children graduated from high school. The extension of alimony was based on the demands of being the primary residential parent for the parties' four young sons. The appellant husband appealed on the extension of rehabilitative alimony. The appellee wife asserted that the appellant husband's appeal was not timely. Appellant asserted that the first order did not comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 58 because his counsel received a copy of the order not signed by either the judge or opposing counsel.
Did the trial court err in extending the rehabilitative alimony?
The appellate court held that it seemed clear that the trial judge intended the second order to supplant the first order. Thus, the second order was valid and the appeal was timely. The court further held that the trial court did not err in finding that appellee wife was not fully rehabilitated and was unable to fully rehabilitate herself until the children graduated from high school. This was based on the offered substantial testimony by the appellee wife that even though she was employed, the amount of time needed to care for the four children, prevented her from working a 40-hour work week.