Same-Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications

This article by Elizabeth Harris in The New York Times will be of interest. Same-sex parents in Tennessee can relate. Same-Sex Parents Still Face Legal Complications At gay pride marches around the country this month, there will be celebrations of marriage, a national right that, at just two years old, feels freshly exuberant to many […]

Read More

Tennessee Supreme Court Ain’t Got Time for All the Dismissed Termination-of-Parental-Rights Appeals: In re Bentley D.

Well, that didn’t take long. A few weeks ago I wrote about the sudden avalanche of appellate decisions dismissing parental-rights-termination cases because the appellant’s lawyer signed the notice of appeal on behalf of the appellant. Recently amended Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-124(d) requires that “[a]ny notice of appeal filed in a termination of parental rights […]

Read More

Court Divided over Substantial Noncompliance with Permanency Plan in Bradley County, TN Termination of Parental Rights: In re Damien G. M.

Facts: Mother and Father are the parents of Child. They never married. Child lived with Mother. The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) received a referral alleging that Child had been exposed to drugs. When Mother appeared in court, she notified the court that she was homeless and without income. After Mother tested positive for […]

Read More

Grounds of Wanton Disregard Reversed in Morristown, TN Termination of Parental Rights Case: In re Jeremimah N.

Facts: Mother gave birth to Child in 2002. In 2007, Maternal Grandmother obtained custody of Child. In 2015, Maternal Grandmother petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights on grounds of wanton disregard and because Father was sentenced to serve over 10 years in prison. Maternal Grandmother sought to adopt Child. Mother consented to the termination of […]

Read More

Things I Like: Coppock on Tennessee Adoption Law

Dawn Coppock, Esq., is widely recognized as the preeminent authority on Tennessee adoption law. She also happens to be a wonderful person. When I was a “baby lawyer” 20 years ago, one of the partners in the firm where I worked told me to handle a pro bono stepparent adoption for one of the firm’s clients. […]

Read More

Superior Parental Rights at Issue in Pulaski, TN Change of Child Custody: Holley v. Ortiz

Facts: Mother is the biological mother of two children aged 3 and 4. At the time of their births, Mother was unmarried and resided with her parents, the children’s maternal grandparents. Grandparents petitioned to terminate Mother’s parental rights and to adopt the children. They allege that Mother moved out of their home several years earlier […]

Read More

Failure to Terminate Father’s Parental Rights Reversed in Crossville, TN: In re A.B.

Facts: Child 1 was born in February 2009. Shortly thereafter, Father was placed on probation after pleading guilty to a drug charge. In July 2009, he was found guilty of violating his probation. In March 2010, Father was arrested for driving on a suspended license. A subsequent drug investigation resulted in Father’s arrest for violating […]

Read More

K.O. Herston a “Top Attorney” for Divorce, Family Law, Child Support, and Adoption in Knoxville, TN

Once again, I am honored to have been selected by my colleagues in the Knoxville Bar as being among the best divorce, family law, child support, and adoption lawyers in Knoxville. CityView magazine explains: Each year, Cityview calls upon the members of the Knoxville Bar Association to determine which attorneys in East Tennessee are the best in […]

Read More

Tennessee Family Law Legislative Update 2016

Things were relatively quiet on the family-law front this past legislative session. Notably missing, however, was any effort to update the various family-law statutes to account for the constitutionally-protected rights of same-sex parents. Until that happens, Tennessee children and their same-sex parents will continue to navigate in an atmosphere of legal uncertainty. There were several […]

Read More

Termination of Parental Rights Not in Children’s Best Interest in Blountville, TN: In re Aiden R.

Most termination of parental rights cases focus on grounds for termination. If grounds are proven, it often seems as if the second prong of the legal analysis — whether termination is in the child’s best interest — is an afterthought. This case is noteworthy because although grounds were proven, it was not proven that termination was in […]

Read More