Denial of Transgender Child’s Name Change Reversed in Williamson County, Tennessee: In re Leyna A.

Facts: Sixteen-year-old Child was born female but identifies as male. Child is transgender and undergoing a medical transition via hormone therapy from the female gender to the male gender. Child was diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria, a medical diagnosis that refers to the emotional distress of having a gender identity that is different than the gender […]

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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 […]

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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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More Termination of Parental Rights Cases Dismissed on New Procedural Quirk, but Now There Are Dissents: In re Jayden R.

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the legislature enacted a statute last year that requires parents appealing the termination of their parental rights to personally sign the notice of appeal, instead of the customary practice of the attorney signing the notice of appeal. Because of this new procedural requirement, appeals in termination of […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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Parent’s Right to Free Speech Examined in Nashville, TN Child Custody Modification: Gider v. Hubbelll

Facts: Mother and Father are the never-married parents of Child. They entered into an agreed parenting plan that designated Mother as the primary residential parent and allowed both parents to share substantially equal time with Child. Six years later, Father petitioned to change custody because of issues with Mother’s mental health, physical health, the condition […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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