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 […]

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New Procedural Requirement Results in Dismissal of Termination of Parental Rights Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee: In re Catherine J.

Facts: Child was removed from the parents’ custody and determined to be dependent and neglected. Five months later, the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. After a trial, the trial court entered a judgment terminating Father’s parental rights to Child. Father filed a notice of appeal. Notably, Father did not […]

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Extraordinary Appeal Results in Reversal of Emergency Change in Custody in Roane County, TN Parenting Dispute: Milton v. Harness

Facts: Mother and Father never married. Child was born in 2010 in Arizona. Mother listed Father on Child’s birth certificate. Initially, Father lived in California while Mother and Child lived in Arizona. Mother granted Father informal visitation with Child on a regular basis. Father would travel to Arizona for this visitation. Later, Father moved to […]

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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 […]

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Tennessee Supreme Court Divides 3-2 On “Effective” Court-Appointed Counsel in Termination of Parental Rights Cases: In re Carrington H., et al.

Facts: Mother’s parental rights to Child were terminated after a trial in which she was represented by court-appointed counsel. The trial court found three separate grounds for termination. Mother appealed the trial court’s termination of her parental rights. Mother’s court-appointed counsel sought appellate review of two of the three grounds for termination. The Court of […]

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Tennessee Supreme Court Deletes Unpublished Opinion Rule

Prior to March 4, 2015, Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 4(H) required that lawyers citing unpublished opinions must attach a copy of the unpublished opinion to any pleading in which it is cited, thereby furnishing a paper copy to both the court and all other parties. The Rule further required that copies of unpublished opinions must contain […]

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Relocation and Change of Child Custody in Tennessee: Stansberry v. Mery

Facts: Mother and Father divorced in 2000 and agreed to joint custody of their two children with a parenting schedule that provided for equal time. In 2008, Father notified Mother of his intent to relocate to North Carolina and take the children with him. Mother filed a petition opposing Father’s requested relocation with the children. Mother […]

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What is a Frivolous Appeal?

The Court of Appeals gives us some easy examples in two recent opinions. In Dhillon v. Dhillon, Husband and Wife enter into a Marital Dissolution Agreement and proceed to have their agreed divorce approved.  Husband appealed raising several issues, including whether the trial court he agreed to was the proper venue for his agreed divorce […]

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