Rehearing Denied May 22, 2019
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIFTEENTH DIVISION
[NO. 60DR-16-1602], HONORABLE RICHARD MOORE, JUDGE
Gillespie, by: Chad M. Green, Little Rock; and Brian G.
Brooks, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brian G. Brooks, for
Stotts, PLLC, by: Jocelyn A. Stotts, Bianca G. Garcia, and
Victor R. Richardson, for appellee.
Appellant Lakshiminarayana Chekuri appeals the divorce decree
entered by the Pulaski County Circuit Court dividing property
and awarding rehabilitative alimony to appellee Madhuri
Nekkalapudi. On appeal, appellant argues that the trial court
erred in (1) awarding appellee $ 68,415.50, which represented
one-half of the amount appellant spent after the parties had
separated; (2) equally dividing the funds that appellant
spent after the parties had separated and the funds in
appellant’s retirement account; and (3) awarding appellee
rehabilitative alimony. We affirm in part and reverse in part
and remand for further proceedings.
Factual and Procedural Background
parties were married in India on February 12, 2015, as a
result of an arrangement by their families. They did not live
together the first month of their marriage. In March 2015,
appellant moved back to Arkansas to finish his residency at
UAMS and his PhD courses at the University of North Texas.
Appellee stayed in India, where she finished medical school.
She moved to Arkansas in May 2015. From May 2015 to December
2015, the parties lived together for approximately five and a
half months. During the marriage and up to the date of the
parties’ separation, appellant worked at UAMS as a resident
earning $ 4,800 to $ 5,000 a month. Appellee did not work.
Six months after the parties separated, appellant accepted a
job at Mercy Clinic in Joplin, Missouri, earning an annual
salary of $ 250,000 and receiving a $ 30,000 bonus. He was
also working toward his doctoral degree at the University of
December 2015, appellee moved to Virginia to attend a Kaplan
course to obtain her American medical degree. She intended to
return to Arkansas after she completed the course in May
2016; however, on April 21, 2016, appellant filed for
divorce. On that same day, the trial court entered a
restraining order enjoining the parties from selling or
otherwise disposing of any property belonging to the parties.
October 24, 2016, the trial court held a hearing. At the
hearing, appellee testified that she is a United States
citizen but that appellant is not. She stated that appellant
had asked her to sponsor him for a green card. Appellee
further testified that appellant had verbally and physically
abused her beginning in June 2015. She explained that her
father currently paid for her living expenses but that he
expected her to pay him back. Thereafter, the trial court
entered a temporary order directing appellant to pay appellee
$ 2,500 a month in alimony.
August 3, 2017, the trial court held a final hearing.
Appellee testified that she was living with her parents and
that she was working for her father while completing the
Kaplan program. She stated that her monthly income was $ 540,
that her monthly ...