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Hanna v. Hanna

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

April 30, 2015

CHARLES ALLEN HANNA
v.
JEANNETTEE LYNN HANNA

Assigned on Briefs March 25, 2015

Appeal from the Chancery Court for Henderson County No. 25129 James F. Butler, Chancellor

Lloyd R. Tatum, Henderson, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jeanette Lynn Hanna.

Charles Allen Hanna, Lexington, Tennessee, pro se.

Kenny Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Arnold B. Goldin, J., joined.

MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

KENNY ARMSTRONG, JUDGE

I. Background

Jeannette Hanna ("Appellant") and Charles Hanna ("Appellee") (together, "the Hannas") were married in December of 1998. Mr. Hanna filed suit for divorce on May 2, 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. As part of their divorce proceedings, the Hannas signed and filed a Marital Dissolution Agreement ("MDA"). Several sections of the MDA are relevant to this appeal. Chief among these is the section titled "Retirement and Annuities, " which states that

[Mr. Hanna] agrees that any and all retirement plans, benefits, programs, annuities and/or retirement accounts held by, in the name of and/or on behalf of [Ms. Hanna] shall be retained by [Ms. Hanna].
[Ms. Hanna] agrees that any and all retirement plans, benefits, programs, annuities and/or retirement accounts held by, in the name of and/or on behalf of [Mr. Hanna] shall be retained by [Mr. Hanna].

Another section, entitled "Noncompliance, " provides that "Should either party incur any expense or legal fees in a successful effort to enforce this Marital Dissolution Agreement, in whole or in part, the court shall award reasonable attorney's fees to the party seeking to enforce this agreement." The MDA also provided that Ms. Hanna "shall receive as her sole and absolute property the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe" ("the Tahoe").

On May 4, 2011, the Henderson County Chancery Court finalized the Hannas' divorce by final decree and incorporated the MDA into the final decree of divorce. Despite the Hannas' divorce, they maintained a joint bank account. On March 12, 2013, Mr. Hanna received a deposit of $52, 422.90 from the Social Security Administration into this joint account. The record is not explicit as to the nature of this payment; however, it appears to be an arrearage payment for social security disability benefits. On June 14, 2013, Ms. Hanna wrote a check for $25, 000 from the shared account. In response, Mr. Hanna hired two men masquerading as "repo men, " replete with fake badges, who took Ms. Hanna's Tahoe.

On July 11, 2013, Mr. Hanna filed a petition for contempt, alleging that Ms. Hanna breached the MDA and requesting that the trial court order Ms. Hanna to return the $25, 000, and that he be awarded attorney's fees. Ms. Hanna filed an answer and counterclaim for contempt on August 6, 2013, requesting the return of the Tahoe and attorney's fees. According to a report dated December 27, 2013, the parties attempted mediation, but could not settle the matter. The trial court heard the petition for contempt on May 22, 2014. On July 14, 2014, Mr. Hanna filed a motion to compel the Appellant to pay $25, 000 to the trial court. On September 18, 2014, the trial court entered an order ordering Mr. Hanna to return the Tahoe and for Mrs. Hanna to ...


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