ANTHONY C. HOWELL
NOEL RUTH KAIL HOWELL
Session September 17, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-000688-17
Robert Samual Weiss, Judge.
divorce case, Husband/Appellant appeals the trial court's
award of $30, 000 in alimony in solido to Wife and
its award of $30, 000 for Wife's attorney's fees as
additional alimony in solido. Discerning no errors,
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed and Remanded.
E. Putnam, John D. Woods III, Memphis, Tennessee, for the
appellant, Anthony C. Howell.
C. Ryland, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Noel Ruth
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
W. Neal McBrayer and Carma D. McGee, JJ., joined.
Anthony C. Howell ("Husband") and Appellee Noel
Ruth Kail Howell ("Wife") were married on June 7,
2008. During the course of the parties' marriage, Husband
and Wife each had periods of unemployment and struggled
financially. At the beginning of the marriage, Husband worked
full-time as an auto mechanic. In 2009, Husband suffered an
injury, which prevented him from working as a mechanic.
Thereafter, Husband worked as an auto parts manager. In March
2017, after receiving an inheritance, see infra,
Husband left full-time employment and worked part-time for
his brother-in-law's towing company. During the marriage,
Wife worked cleaning houses and doing fire and water
restoration work. In 2015, Wife's adult son from a
previous relationship died; in the wake of this event, Wife
took leave of her employment. Although Wife later returned to
work, her ability to clean houses and do restoration work was
limited due to her poor health, discussed infra.
parties separated on June 20, 2016, and Husband moved from
the marital residence. In February 2017, Husband admitted to
Wife that he had been living with his girlfriend since he
left the marital residence. Shortly thereafter, on February
15, 2017, Husband filed a complaint for divorce alleging
irreconcilable differences. On February 27, 2017, less than
two weeks after Husband filed the complaint, his father died.
One week later, Husband's paternal grandmother died.
Husband was the sole heir of both estates and inherited real
and personal property totaling $702, 653.00. On March 6,
2017, Wife filed an answer to Husband's complaint and a
counter-complaint for divorce alleging the grounds of
inappropriate marital conduct and abandonment.
case was tried on July 12 and 16, 2018. Prior to the hearing,
the parties settled the division of certain marital property,
and Wife received most of the marital assets, which were
valued at approximately $21, 193.54; however, only $116.99 of
this was liquid assets. The parties proceeded to trial on the
order of September 11, 2018, the trial court awarded Wife a
divorce on grounds of Husband's inappropriate marital
conduct and abandonment. As is relevant to this appeal, the
trial court awarded Wife $30, 000 in alimony in
solido, payable at $1, 000 per month for thirty months.
The trial court also ordered Husband to pay part of
Wife's attorney's fees in the amount of $15, 541.96
as additional alimony in solido. On October 5, 2018,
Wife filed a motion to alter or amend the final decree of
divorce seeking an increase in the alimony in solido
award from $30, 000 to $60, 000. Wife also sought additional
attorney's fees. The trial court heard Wife's motion
on November 9, 2018. On December 11, 2018, the trial court
entered an amended final decree. Therein the trial court
denied Wife's motion to increase the $30, 000 alimony
in solido award, but it granted her motion for
additional attorney's fees. Specifically, the trial court
awarded Wife an additional $14, 458.04 (for a total of $30,
000) in attorney's fees as alimony in solido.
raises three issues for review, which we restate as follows:
1. Whether the trial court erred when it awarded wife