Assigned on Briefs July 3, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Davidson County No. 14D2614Phillip
R. Robinson, Judge
trial court granted Wife a divorce; divided marital assets
and liabilities; and awarded Husband five years of
rehabilitative alimony. Husband appealed. Due to the
deficiencies in Husband's appellate brief, we do not
reach Husband's substantive issues and dismiss the
Roozbeh Vazeen, Nashville, Tennessee, pro se.
Virginia J. Connell, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee,
Michelle S. Vazin.
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
W. Neal McBrayer, J. joined. Charles D. Susano, Jr., J.,
filed a separate concurring and dissenting opinion.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
Jon Roozbeh Vazeen ("Husband") and Appellee
Michelle Smith Vazin ("Wife") were married in
February 1990. Wife filed for divorce on December 12, 2014.
At the time of the divorce, the parties had no minor
children. Husband filed a counter-complaint for divorce on
November 24, 2015. Following a hearing, the trial court
dismissed Husband's counter-complaint and granted Wife an
absolute divorce based on Husband's inappropriate marital
conduct. The trial court divided the marital assets and
liabilities and awarded Husband five years of rehabilitative
alimony. Husband appeals.
raises eight issues for review. It appears that Husband
appeals the division of marital property, as well as the
amount and duration of alimony. However, because
Husband's brief fails to comport with the requirements of
the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure, we do not reach
his substantive issues.
cognizant that Husband is proceeding pro se in this
appeal. Courts should take into account that many
pro se litigants have no legal training and little
familiarity with the judicial system. Garrard v. Tenn.
Dep't of Corr., No. M2013-01525-COA-R3-CV, 2014 WL
1887298, at *3 (Tenn. Ct. App. May 8, 2014)(internal
citations omitted). Therefore, the courts give pro se
litigants who are untrained in the law a certain amount of
leeway in drafting their pleadings and briefs.
Whitaker, 32 S.W.3d at 227; Paehler v. Union
Planters Nat'l Bank, Inc., 971 S.W.2d 393, 397
(Tenn. Ct. App. 1997). "Pro se litigants who invoke the
complex and technical procedures of the courts assume a very
heavy burden." Irvin v. City of Clarksville,
767 S.W.2d 649, 652 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1989). While a party who
chooses to represent himself or herself is entitled to the
fair and equal treatment of the courts, Hodges v. Tenn.
Att'y Gen., 43 S.W.3d 918, 920 (Tenn. Ct. App.
2000), "[p]ro se litigants are not . . . entitled to
shift the burden of litigating their case to the
courts." Whitaker v. Whirlpool Corp., 32 S.W.3d
222, 227 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2000). Instead, pro se litigants are
held to the same procedural and substantive standards to
which lawyers must adhere. Diggs v. Lasalle Nat. Bank
Assoc., et al., 387 S.W.3d 559, 563 (Tenn. Ct. App.
2012); Brown v. Christian Bros. University, No.
W2012-01336-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 3982137, at *3 (Tenn. Ct. App.
Aug. 5, 2013), perm. app. denied (Tenn. Jan. 15,
contents of appellate briefs are governed by Rule 27 of the
Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure. According to the
rule, the Appellant's brief shall contain:
(2) A table of authorities, including cases (alphabetically
arranged), statutes and other authorities cited, with
references to the pages in the brief where they are cited;
(7) An argument, which may be preceded by a summary of
argument, setting forth:(A) the contentions of the appellant
with respect to the issues presented, and the reasons
therefor, including the reasons why the contentions require
appellate relief, with citations to the authorities and
appropriate references to the record (which may be quoted
verbatim) relied on; and (B) for each issue, a concise
statement of the applicable standard of review (which ...