Assigned on Briefs October 2, 2017
from the General Sessions Court for Roane County No. 4322A
Dennis W. Humphrey, Judge
case involves a post-divorce petition seeking military
retirement benefits not allocated at the time of the divorce.
The trial court awarded Theresa Aileen Blount (Wife) the
requested benefits over the objection of her former spouse,
Howard Paul Blount, III (Husband). The trial court also
awarded Wife attorney's fees in the amount of $6, 000.
Husband appeals. Wife raises her own issues. She seeks
additional attorney's fees; an award of travel expenses;
and a remand to the trial court for the purpose of
calculating Wife's entitlement in accordance with the
"retained jurisdiction method." We affirm the trial
court's order granting benefits. We remand the case to
the trial court for the purpose of (1) determining the
appropriate valuation method for calculating Wife's
benefits and (2) thereafter describing each party's
respective legal interest in Husband's military pension.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the General
Judkins, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Paul Blount, III. Lisa Collins Werner, Knoxville, Tennessee,
for the appellee, Theresa Aileen Blount.
Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr. and Brandon O. Gibson,
CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE
material facts of this case are undisputed. The parties were
married in 1985. At that time, Husband was in the military.
He continued serving in the military until 1997. Shortly
thereafter, Wife filed for divorce. On April 19, 2002, the
parties entered into a "Stipulated Judgment of Divorce
Reserving All Other Issues." Although the parties
eventually agreed to a permanent parenting plan, their
attempts to resolve various property disputes through
mediation were unsuccessful. In 2004, the parties appeared
before a special master to resolve eight specific issues.
After hearing the evidence and considering the parties'
arguments, the master orally addressed each of those issues.
That oral ruling was incorporated by reference in the
"Report of the Special Master." On February 18,
2005, the trial court entered an "Order of Confirmation,
" which substantially adopted the findings and
recommendations of the master.
the trial court's order of confirmation, both parties
filed petitions for contempt. Eventually, Husband and Wife
were able to resolve these issues through mediation and on
June 13, 2007, the trial court entered an "Agreed Order
Resolving Contempt Petitions." In that order, the court
stated that the parties "have agreed to a compromise of
all issues now pending in this cause."
2015, Wife filed a "Petition for Payment of Military
Benefits." In response, Husband filed a Rule 12.02(6)
motion to dismiss, asserting the affirmative defenses of (1)
res judicata; (2) laches; (3) estoppel; and (4) waiver. After
asking the parties to submit briefs, the trial court issued
its "Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, " in
which the court denied Husband's motion to dismiss and
granted Wife the requested benefits. Later, however, the
trial court set aside those findings "because the only
issue before the Court at the time that the Court made the
findings and recommendations was [Husband's] Motion to
Dismiss on the pleadings . . . ." Consequently, the
court issued a separate order denying Husband's motion to
dismiss on the pleadings and set a date to conduct a hearing
on the merits of the case.
hearing, Wife relied upon the evidence in the record
(primarily her brief filed in opposition to Husband's
motion to dismiss) to prove her entitlement to the military
retirement benefits. Husband also rested his case without
offering any additional proof. Ultimately, the trial court
granted Wife her "marital share" of Husband's
military pension as well as $6, 000 in attorney's fees.
The court refused Wife her travel expenses. Husband appeals.
appeal, the parties ask us to address the following issues:
Whether the trial court erred in denying Husband's motion
Whether the trial court erred in granting Wife a portion of
Husband's military retirement benefits.
Whether the trial court erred by failing to specify a method
of calculating Wife's entitled benefits.
Whether the trial court erred in awarding Wife partial
attorney's fees and no travel expenses.
Husband states the following with respect to ...