Domestic (Family Law) Cases

Marital Dissolution Agreements

Except as indicated, all indented material is copied directly from the court’s opinion. 

Decisions of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Decisions of the Tennessee Court of Appeals

Hammond v. Hammond, No. M2022-01253-COA-R3-CV, p. 4-5 (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 22, 2023). 

“MDAs are essentially contracts, and we construe them as such.” Vlach v. Vlach, 556 S.W.3d 219, 222 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2017) (citing Bogan v. Bogan, 60 S.W.3d 721, 730 (Tenn. 2001)); see also Long v. McAllister-Long, 221 S.W.3d 1, 8 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2006) (“These agreements are contractual in the sense that they are the product of the parties’ negotiation and agreement.”).

Heisig v. Heisig, No. E2021-00925-COA-R3-CV, p. 4 (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 29, 2022).

The interpretation of a contract, such as an MDA, is a matter of law. The trial court’s conclusions of law are reviewed pursuant to a de novo standard with no presumption of correctness. Taylor v. Fezell, 158 S.W.3d 352, 357 (Tenn. 2005).

In re Conservatorship of John F. Ress,  No. E2021-00134-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 10, 2022).

Marital dissolution agreements are contracts and are to be treated as such. Honeycutt v. Honeycutt, 152 S.W.3d 556, 561-62 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003). The interpretation of contracts is a matter of law. Allstate Ins. Co. v. Watson, 195 S.W.3d 609, 611 (Tenn. 2006). We review a trial court’s conclusions of law de novo with no presumption of correctness. Keyt v. Keyt, 244 S.W.3d 321, 327 (Tenn. 2007). We review a trial court’s findings of fact de novo upon the record with a presumption of correctness unless the evidence preponderates otherwise. Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d); Watson v. Watson, 309 S.W.3d 483, 490 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2009).


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