McGrath v. Hester (Tennessee 2021)

No. M2019-02147-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. App. 2021)
April 2021

A clear and unambiguous provision of an agreed-to parenting plan is enforceable. The parents in this case agreed to a provision in their parenting plan requiring them to each maintain a life insurance policy in the amount of $300,000 for the benefit of their children until completion of the child support obligation. The father, who remarried, passed away. He left a life insurance policy, and the mother filed a complaint requesting a constructive trust for the $300,000. The father’s wife objected and questioned the requirement for the father to carry the life insurance policy. The parenting plan had been modified several times. The trial court granted the mother’s summary judgement motion but only awarded her the amount of support due to the children and denied her request for a constructive trust. The mother appealed. The appellate court modified the judgment amount to reflect the entire $300,000. Both parties agreed the children had a vested interest in the proceeds of the life insurance policy and as to which plan controlled. The controlling plan contained a clear and unambiguous provision requiring each parent was to maintain a life insurance policy in the amount of $300,000 for the children’s benefit. The provision didn’t limit the amount or indicate it was only to cover any outstanding support.