Alcohol Prohibition Challenged in Murfreesboro, Tennessee Divorce: Goughenour v. Goughenour

May 25, 2023 K.O. Herston 0 Comments

Facts: Mother and Father are the parents of Child. During their divorce, the trial court entered an order finding that Mother had a serious alcohol problem and directing her to undergo a forensic alcohol assessment.

After a three-day trial, the trial court found that both parents consumed alcohol in Child’s presence and that Father continued to buy alcohol for Mother while claiming she was abusing alcohol and had mental issues. The trial court also found that Mother enrolled in the “Soberlink alcohol monitoring system,” which produced 533 negative tests for alcohol.

The trial court designated Father as the primary residential parent, awarded equal parenting time to the parties, and ordered that each parent “shall not consume any alcohol” during their parenting time.

Father appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in prohibiting him from drinking alcohol during his parenting time because there was no proof that his alcohol consumption was “problematic.”

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

The Court found no error with the trial court’s prohibition on Father’s consumption of alcohol during his parenting time:

A review of the record reflects certain incidents where Father was intoxicated in Child’s presence and was yelling at another individual while both Child and the individual’s children were under his care. This individual testified that, subsequent to this interaction, she and her husband no longer left their children at Father and Mother’s home if only Father was present. In its final order, the trial court found that “Father and Mother have consumed alcohol in the presence of the child and Father continued to purchase alcohol for Mother while, at the same time, advocating Mother was abusing alcohol and had mental issues.” … We find no indication that the trial court abused its discretion when it ordered Father not to consume alcohol in Child’s presence.

The Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment and awarded Mother her attorney’s fees incurred on appeal. The case was remanded back to the trial court to determine the amount of Mother’s attorney’s fees.

K.O.’s Comment: Compare this case with Williams v. Williams, where the Court found the trial court erred by not prohibiting the father from consuming alcohol during his parenting time after requiring him to use a breathalyzer to prove his sobriety during the exchange of the child.

Source: Goughenour v. Goughenour (Tennessee Court of Appeals, Middle Section, May 5, 2023).

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Alcohol Prohibition Challenged in Murfreesboro, Tennessee Divorce: Goughenour v. Goughenour was last modified: May 8th, 2023 by K.O. Herston

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