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No Have to Bifurcate Divorce and Civil Contempt Listening to

Tennessee case abstract on bifurcation and contempt in divorce.

Erin Elizabeth Otto v. Timothy Jason Otto

No Have to Bifurcate Divorce and Civil Contempt Listening to

The husband and spouse on this Hickman County, Tennessee, case had been married in 1996 in Wisconsin, and spent many of the marriage in Tennessee.  That they had 5 kids, two of whom had been minors on the time of their 2017 separation.   At the moment, the spouse moved again to Wisconsin on account of the husband’s controlling conduct.  She filed for divorce in Tennessee, and there was appreciable pretrial exercise.  The spouse had made a number of motions for contempt throughout the course of the litigation, and these had been heard on the last listening to, which happened in 2020.  The husband’s lawyer withdrew earlier than the listening to, and the husband appeared professional se.  At one level, throughout the spouse’s testimony, the husband gathered his belongings and left the courtroom, and didn’t return.  The trial decide concluded that he did so to keep away from the potential for incarceration.

The trial courtroom granted the spouse a divorce and dominated on the opposite points.  The courtroom additionally discovered the husband responsible of civil contempt for willful violations of a number of of the prior orders.  The husband appealed the contempt ruling to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.  He argued that the trial courtroom ought to have bifurcated the proceedings, and conduct one listening to for the divorce points, and one other listening to on the query of contempt.

The appeals courtroom held that the trial courtroom had not erred, as a result of the husband was present in civil contempt, and never felony contempt.  Whereas it might need been essential to bifurcate a case of felony contempt, that was not the case right here.  As well as, the appeals courtroom famous that the husband didn’t present that he was prejudiced by the process employed.

The Courtroom of Appeals went on to conclude that the husband’s place on enchantment was frivolous.  Due to this fact, it awarded the spouse her lawyer’s charges on enchantment and remanded the case for a computation of the quantity of these charges.

For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals affirmed and remanded the case.

No. M2020–00660-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Could 25,  2021).

See unique opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.

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