Token Visitation Argument Rejected in Termination of Parental Rights Trial: In re Adoption of Male Child Z.J.D.

Facts: Mother and Father were married to one another when Child was born in Tennessee. Father moved to Massachusetts before Child was born and, other than one month when Mother lived with Father in Massachusetts, Mother has resided in Tennessee with Child throughout Child’s life. Mother and Father divorced when Child was about two years […]

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Parental Alienation and Persistent Claims of Sexual Abuse Leads to Change of Custody in Tennessee: In re Jonathan S. C-B

Facts: Mother and Father were never married. They lived together, had a child, and separated when Child was 3.5 years old. After what the Court described as a “highly contentious” trial lasting seven days, Mother was named the primary residential parent. Because of a history of substance abuse, Father’s parenting time was to be supervised […]

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Considering “Maximum Amount of Time Possible With the Child” in Tennessee Child Custody Decisions: Rountree v. Rountree

Facts: Mother and Father are the parents of a two-year-old Child. They divorced after approximately nine years of marriage. Prior to the marriage, Father was injured in an accident that left him “confined to a wheelchair” and “unable to obtain substantial employment.” Before the divorce, Father was the primary caregiver for Child while Mother worked. […]

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Default Judgment Against Active Duty Military Parent: State ex rel. Price v. Childers

Facts: Mother received child support enforcement services from the State of Tennessee. The State, acting on mother’s behalf, filed a petition to establish paternity against Father. Hearing no response from Father, the trial court entered an order by default finding Father to be the biological father of Mother’s child. The order also established Father’s child […]

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Equal Parenting Time Reversed in Tennessee Divorce: Shultz v. Fuller

Facts: Mother and Father divorced and entered an agreed permanent parenting plan designating Mother as the primary residential parent but awarding Father 120 days per year of co-parenting time. Shortly thereafter, both parents lodged petitions against the other alleging contempt for a variety of claimed sins of omission and commission.  Eventually, both parents filed motions […]

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Tennessee Divorce Lawyer’s List of Things Every Divorced or Divorcing Parent Should Do: Part Four

This is the fourth and final post in a four-part series where I will briefly recommend appropriate behaviors for parents during separation, courtroom proceedings, and following divorce. All recommendations are based on my personal experience as an attorney focusing on family law as well as the enormous body of social science research devoted to studying […]

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Tennessee Divorce Lawyer’s List of Things Every Divorced or Divorcing Parent Should Do: Part Three

This is Part Three of a four-part series where I will briefly recommend appropriate behaviors for parents during separation, courtroom proceedings, and following divorce. All recommendations are based on my personal experience as an attorney focusing on family law as well as the enormous body of social science research devoted to studying the effects of […]

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Unwillingness to Facilitate Child’s Relationship with Other Parent Leads to Change of Custody: In re Elaina M.

Facts: Mother gave birth to Child. At age four, Mother petitioned the court to establish Father’s paternity of Child. Father filed a petition to establish a parenting plan allowing him reasonable visitation with Child. After DNA testing confirmed Father’s paternity, the trial court set Father’s child support and established a standard co-parenting schedule. About a […]

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Post-Divorce Change of Child Custody: Wall v. Wall

Facts: At the time of divorce, Mother was designated as the primary residential parent of the parties’ daughter. Two years later, Father filed a petition to modify the decree to designate him as the primary residential parent. Father alleged Mother had inadequate child care arrangements while Mother was at work, and that Mother had not been […]

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Termination of Parental Rights in Tennessee: In re Dylan M.J.

Facts: Child was born to unmarried, teenage parents. Paternity, child support, and a visitation schedule were established. Father fell behind on child support from time-to-time and would have to catch up. After Father’s parents moved to another state an eight-hour drive away, Father’s visitation became more sporadic. Father was convicted of and put on probation […]

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Modification of Agreed Child Support in Tennessee: Henderson v. Wilson

Facts: Mother and Father married in 1990, had two children, and divorced in 1992. Father was awarded custody and Mother was ordered to pay $50 per week for child support. Mother paid a total of $700, all of which was paid in 2000. Father filed a petition in 2000 to increase Mother’s child support, which […]

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Damages for Child Support After a False Claim of Paternity: Hodge v. Craig

Facts: While Mother and Husband were dating, Mother became pregnant and told Husband the soon-to-be Son was his. The parties married and Son was born. Husband was listed on Son’s birth certificate. Husband also adopted Daughter, Mother’s child from a prior relationship. Father then decided he did not want to have any more children and had […]

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