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Nisenbaum v. Nisenbaum

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 23, 2019

KAREN NISENBAUM
v.
MICHAEL NISENBAUM

          Session January 10, 2019

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Williamson County No. 44368 Joseph Woodruff, Chancellor

         In this divorce action, the trial court awarded Wife transitional alimony of $2, 000 per month for 24 months and $1, 000 per month for the next 24 months; the court denied her requests for alimony in futuro and for alimony in solido to cover the cost of future dental care. Finding no error, we affirm the judgment.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court for Williamson County Affirmed

          Brad H. Frakes, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Karen Nisenbaum.

          Adam A. Zanetis, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Michael Nisenbaum.

          Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which W. Neal McBrayer and Kenny W. Armstrong, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE.

         Michael P. Nisenbaum ("Husband") and Karen Mary S. Nisenbaum ("Wife") married in June of 1987. Wife filed a complaint for divorce on July 27, 2015, alleging irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct; Husband answered and counter-claimed on August 19, alleging irreconcilable differences, inappropriate marital conduct, and "refusal, on the part of Wife, to remove with the Husband to this state, without a reasonable cause, and being willfully absent from the Husband residing in Tennessee for two (2) years."

         The trial court heard the case in June of 2017 and entered a Memorandum and Order on October 30, inter alia, awarding Wife transitional alimony of $2, 000.00 per month for 24 months and $1, 000 per month for the next 24 months; denying her request to be awarded alimony in solido for future dental expenses; and holding that each party was responsible for their own attorney's fees. Wife appeals, asserting that the trial court abused its discretion in awarding her transitional alimony rather than alimony in futuro, and in failing to award her dental expenses and attorney's fees as alimony in solido.

         I. Analysis

         A. Alimony

         Tennessee recognizes four distinct types of spousal support: (1) alimony in futuro, (2) alimony in solido, (3) rehabilitative alimony, and (4) transitional alimony. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-121(d)(1).[1] "There are no hard and fast rules for spousal support decisions." Anderton v. Anderton, 988 S.W.2d 675, 682-83 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1998); Crain v. Crain, 925 S.W.2d 232, 233 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1996). In determining whether to award spousal support, the trial court is required to consider "all relevant factors," including:

(1) The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and all other sources;
(2) The relative education and training of each party, the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party's earnings capacity to a reasonable level;
(3) The duration of the marriage;
(4) The age and mental condition of each party;
(5) The physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease;
(6) The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home, because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;
(7) The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
(8) The provisions made with regard to the marital property, as defined in § 36-4-121;
(9) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
(10) The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
(11) The relative fault of the parties, in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so; and
(12) Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities ...

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