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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 31, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Mark R. Orr, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kathaleen Moriarty King.

Attorneys 2:

John A. Lucas, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Hal David King.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This appeal involves a 1997 divorce judgment that awarded the wife a percentage of the husband’s federal retirement annuity. The parties entered into a settlement agreement, later incorporated into a judgment, which provided that the wife would receive one-half of the marital portion of the husband’s retirement. The 1997 judgment contained no provisions regarding salary adjustments or cost-of-living adjustments applicable to the retirement annuity. In 2008, the husband’s attorney filed and the trial court entered a “Court Order Acceptable for Processing,” which provided for the wife’s fractional share of the husband’s retirement annuity but made no mention of salary adjustments applicable thereto. This order did provide, however, that the wife would be entitled to cost-of-living adjustments. Following his retirement in 2015, the husband filed a motion in 2016 seeking relief from the trial court’s prior final orders pursuant to Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 60. The trial court granted the motion, determining that the relief sought merely “clarified” but did not modify the earlier orders. The wife has appealed. We conclude that the trial court impermissibly granted relief to the husband pursuant to Rule 60.01, which had the effect of modifying the parties’ settlement agreement and the court’s prior orders. We therefore vacate the trial court’s order granting Rule 60 relief.