Knoxville, TN asked in Divorce and Elder Law for Tennessee

Q: Divorce case circa 1987, wherein one spouse has writ he is entitled to 40% of sale price for home in Huntsville, AL.

Divorce of 1987 states Mr. X is entitled to 40% of value of home in the event Mrs. X dies first.

Since paying off mortgage, Mr X has not put any money into maintaining the home.

The position is that Mrs X, by virtue of the fact that she has maintained the home for the past 30 years solely by her own efforts, is therefore entitled to 100% of sale of home.

Is it possible to reopen a 30 year+ divorce case in order to eliminate the real estate portion based on current knowledge?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Not sure of your question, and you have not stated enough facts. However it is very unlikely that a Tennessee Judgment has subject manner jurisdiction over anything to do with real property in Alabama.

The exception would occur on ancillary jurisdiction of a will probated in Tennessee. There are many such divorce decrees attempting to order the disposition of real property in other states, but such terms are void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Assuming the divorce was granted in Tennessee, in my opinion, it is unlikely you could change the decree at this point. All appeal times are long expired, as well as the time periods for modification under "Rule 60" ( a rule of procedure which addresses correction/changing a court order). . The divorce Court retains jurisdiction to modify certain issues ( alimony and child support) but the case law says a final property division is NOT subject to modification.

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