In the Matter of Tami & Michael MallettAnnotate this Case
This case was an interlocutory appeal of two orders of the Conway Family Division that granted Petitioner Tami Mallett's motions to amend and for attorney's fees. Petitioner and Respondent Michael Mallett were involved in a long-term relationship, but never married. During the nearly fourteen years they were together, they had two children and held themselves out as a married couple. They wore wedding rings, shared the same last name, owned property together, and worked jointly in business enterprises. In 2009, Tami filed a petition for divorce. In response, Michael filed a motion to dismiss, based upon the fact that he and Tami never married. The trial court granted Michael's motion in part, but ruled that it would nonetheless "address all issues of parenting and child support raised" in the petition for divorce. The court also ruled that it had "equitable authority to make certain adjustments of the rights and interests of the parties," and granted Tami leave to amend her petition, or to file parenting and equity petitions to more fully develop her theories related to, among other things, the division of the parties' personal and real property. Tami then filed a motion to amend, and later a motion for attorney's fees. In two separate orders, the court granted both motions. Michael moved for reconsideration of the orders, or in the alternative, for an interlocutory transfer. The trial court granted the request for an interlocutory transfer, and transferred six questions to the Supreme Court. "While unmarried parties are expressly within the family division’s jurisdiction for purposes of child-related matters, [the] statutory scheme plainly restricts all divorce remedies and property distribution to married couples." The Supreme Court reversed both of the trial court's orders in favor of Tami and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.