The only issue in this case is whether a divorced wife was entitled to continue to receive alimony after the untimely death of her former husband. The wife argued that the support award was in the nature of alimony in solido, which is for a fixed total amount that does not abate upon the death of the obligor. She relies upon an Agreed Interim Order that provided that the husband would pay the wife “spousal support in the amount of $500 per month for a period of three years. . . .” The executrix of her former husband’s estate contended that the terms of the Agreed Interim Order were irrelevant, because the order was superseded by the Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA), which was incorporated into the final decree of divorce. The MDA included the $500 per month alimony provision, but provided that the husband’s alimony obligation would end if the wife remarried, and it did not mention the three year period or any other time limitation. The executrix accordingly argued that the MDA award was in the nature of alimony in futuro, which abates upon the death of the obligor by operation of law. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-121(f)(1). The trial court found that the omission of the three year period from the MDA was an inadvertent oversight, that the parties intended the alimony award to be in solido, and that the wife was accordingly entitled to receive support from her former husband’s estate. We reverse, because the MDA establishes the award and provided for alimony in futuro.read more »
Bradley Joseph Eldridge-Smith, Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the appellant, Christine Ann Burns.
Jerre Michael Hood, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, Vicki Lee Steil.