Posted by: koherston | December 19, 2016

Failure to Share Parenting Time During School Breaks Reversed in Lewisburg, TN: Lanier v. Lanier

Facts: Mother and Father are the divorced parents of three children. When they divorced in 2007, they agreed to share parenting time equally and designate Father as the primary residential parent.

In 2012, the trial court modified the parenting schedule to reduce Mother’s parenting time with the oldest child to 124 days. The schedule as to the other two children remained the same as before, i.e., equal time (182.5 days).

knoxville divorceIn 2014, the trial court again modified the parenting schedule to give Mother 147 days of parenting time with all three children via a schedule of alternating weekends during school and alternating weeks during summer vacation. It also modified the holiday schedule during the school year to follow the “regular schedule,” i.e., alternating weekends.

Under the modified parenting plan, Mother’s parenting time during the children’s Fall and Spring Break and their Christmas Vacation would be limited to alternating weekends.

Mother appealed.

On Appeal: The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court.

Mother argued the school holidays should be shared equally by both parents, particularly since the summer vacation time is shared equally with alternating weeks.

The Court agreed:

Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-106(a) provides that, in determining the children’s best interest, the court “shall order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible . . . consistent with the factors set out. . . .” In the absence of specific findings by the court relative to Mother’s parenting time during vacation periods, the order does not appear to comply with the statute and, as a consequence, we are unable to affirm the schedules for the vacation periods.

The trial court’s parenting schedule for school holidays was vacated and remanded for the trial court to reconsider Mother’s parenting time for the Fall, Spring, and Christmas breaks in accordance with § 36-6-106 and to make appropriate findings relative thereto.

Lanier v. Lanier (Tennessee Court of Appeals, Middle Section, December 9, 2016).

Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce and Family-Law Attorney.


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