Pennington v. Pennington

Facts: Parents had equal parenting time with Child.  Trial court found “joint custody did not work for the parties and they did not communicate, and thus that a material change of circumstances had occurred.”  Trial court designated Father as primary residential parent.  Mother appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. The Court found

both parents have love, affection, and emotional ties with the child, and both are able to provide for the child’s needs. The child split his time equally between the parents’ homes prior to the original trial, so continuity was not an issue. Both parents seemed to have stable family units, and the mental and physical health of the parents was not an issue.

The main difference appears to be the fact that Father encouraged Child’s relationship with Mother while Mother did not do likewise.

It was shown that [Father] and his then wife encouraged a close and continuing relationship between the child and the mother, but the mother did not return the favor, and instead coached the child to say things like “daddy told a fib”, and other coaches.

This goes to show that taking the high road and putting the children’s best interest ahead of one’s own tends to be rewarded in custody decisions.

Pennington v. Pennington (Tenn. Ct. App. May 4, 2010).

Information provided by K.O. Herston, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer.

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K.O. Herston is a family-law attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee whose practice is devoted exclusively to family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and other aspects of family law.

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