Whitehead v. Whitehead

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtCOOPER; HARBISON
Citation627 S.W.2d 944
PartiesTrusty Mize WHITEHEAD, Appellant, v. Ruby Doris WHITEHEAD, Appellee.
Decision Date22 February 1982

Page 944

627 S.W.2d 944
Trusty Mize WHITEHEAD, Appellant,
v.
Ruby Doris WHITEHEAD, Appellee.
Supreme Court of Tennessee, at Knoxville.
Feb. 22, 1982.

Martha S. L. Black, David T. Black & Christopher Ralls, Maryville, for appellant.

John D. Lockridge, Jr., Sarah Y. Sheppeard Lockridge & Becker, P.C., Knoxville, for appellee.

OPINION

COOPER, Justice.

This appeal is the outgrowth of a divorce action filed in the Blount County Circuit Court on November 8, 1978. At issue is the division of jointly owned property and the provision for future support of the wife.

The parties were married approximately twenty-eight years. For almost all of this period, appellant served as an officer in the United States Air Force, retiring as a Colonel after twenty-nine years of service. His retirement pay in 1979 approximated $28,000.00 per year. Since retirement, appellant has worked as a commercial pilot. However, at the time of trial, he had been grounded for flying an uncertified airplane.

Appellee was employed for brief periods of time during the marriage. Her main contribution to the marriage, however, was that of wife, mother, and homemaker. As the result, she has little or no training or experience in the business world, and has a limited earning capacity. At the time of the last hearing in the trial court, she was working as a temporary employee, a "Kelly" girl, and was paid $4.00 per hour. The record also shows that appellee has had back surgery, which limits her ability to work.

The trial court granted appellee a decree of divorce, made a detailed division of jointly owned property, which did not include appellant's military retirement pay, and ordered appellant to pay twenty percent of his gross income to appellee as alimony in futuro. Both parties appealed.

In a comprehensive and well-reasoned opinion, the Court of Appeals concluded that appellant's military retirement pay was jointly owned property, and awarded appellee one-half of the retirement pay in lieu of the payment of alimony in futuro. The distribution of jointly owned property detailed in the decree of the trial court was otherwise approved.

Subsequent to the entry of the judgment of the Court of Appeals, and while appellant's application to appeal was pending in this court, the United States Supreme Court rendered its decision in McCarty v. McCarty, --- U.S. ----, 101 S.Ct. 2728, 69 L.Ed.2d 589 (1981). The Court there held that federal law precludes a state court from dividing...

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3 practice notes
  • Kendrick v. Kendrick
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • November 16, 1994
    ...op. at 16, 6 T.A.M. 13-10 (Tenn.Ct.App. Feb. 4, 1981) (vested military retirement pay is marital property subject to division), rev'd, 627 S.W.2d 944 In 1983, the General Assembly amended the statute governing the distribution of marital property in divorce cases. 4 According to its House s......
  • Cohen v. Cohen
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • September 16, 1996
    ...which disallowed consideration of any military pensions as marital property, we reversed the Court of Appeals. Whitehead v. Whitehead, 627 S.W.2d 944, 945 (Tenn.1982). Congress reacted to the outcry against McCarty and passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), P......
  • Adams v. Adams, No. 04-89-00362-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • April 11, 1990
    ...issues, and especially the question of ... the property rights of the parties." Id., 300 S.W.2d at 608. In Whitehead v. Whitehead, 627 S.W.2d 944 (Tenn.1982), it was stated that the military retirement benefits of the husband were "jointly owned property" of the husband and w......
3 cases
  • Cohen v. Cohen
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • September 16, 1996
    ...which disallowed consideration of any military pensions as marital property, we reversed the Court of Appeals. Whitehead v. Whitehead, 627 S.W.2d 944, 945 (Tenn.1982). Congress reacted to the outcry against McCarty and passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), P......
  • Kendrick v. Kendrick
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • November 16, 1994
    ...op. at 16, 6 T.A.M. 13-10 (Tenn.Ct.App. Feb. 4, 1981) (vested military retirement pay is marital property subject to division), rev'd, 627 S.W.2d 944 In 1983, the General Assembly amended the statute governing the distribution of marital property in divorce cases. 4 According to its House s......
  • Adams v. Adams, No. 04-89-00362-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • April 11, 1990
    ...issues, and especially the question of ... the property rights of the parties." Id., 300 S.W.2d at 608. In Whitehead v. Whitehead, 627 S.W.2d 944 (Tenn.1982), it was stated that the military retirement benefits of the husband were "jointly owned property" of the husband and wife. The court,......

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