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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on May 11, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Kevin A. Snider, Germantown, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Martin Beck.

Attorneys 2:

Justin K. Thomas, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jean Ann Fiorazo Beck.

Judge(s): STAFFORD

This is a post-divorce action, concerning the Appellant Husband’s obligation to pay alimony in futuro to Appellee Wife. Husband and Wife entered into a marital dissolution agreement (“MDA”), which was incorporated and made part of the final decree of divorce. The MDA provided that both parties would exchange tax returns each year and that, if these returns were not proferred, then alimony would be suspended until they were. Wife provided her tax returns after redacting her personal information. Husband concluded that the redaction was a breach of contract and, without prior court approval, unilaterally stopped making alimony payments. Because the MDA provision for alimony in futuro lost its contractual nature upon being incorporated into the trial court’s order, and because Husband failed to obtain court approval before he suspended payments, we conclude that he lacked authority to stop those payments. Therefore, the award of arrears was proper. Affirmed and remanded.