Fayette County, Tennessee Courthouse

Tennessee baby custody modification case abstract.

Robin Drewry Luttrell (Wassenberg) v. Samuel Richard Wassenberg

The mom and father on this Fayette County, Tennessee, parental relocation case had been divorced in 2011 and had been the dad and mom of 1 baby.  They had been in a position to comply with a everlasting parenting plan which referred to as for equal parenting time, with each dad and mom designated as major residential father or mother.

When the kid was twelve, the daddy moved to Georgia, and the kid stayed with the mom whereas they mentioned adjustments to the parenting plan.  They had been unable to succeed in an settlement, and in 2016, the mom petitioned for a change in parenting plan and to carry the daddy in contempt.  The contempt cost was based mostly on the daddy’s alleged failure to pay bills below the plan.  Shortly thereafter, the court docket entered a consent order prohibiting both father or mother from discussing the litigation points with the kid.

The daddy filed a counterpetition and alleged that the kid most well-liked to dwell with him.  He requested for 285 days of parenting time.

The kid had particular wants resulting from her studying disabilities, and her faculty had advisable a faculty extra suited to her wants.  The mom chosen a personal faculty in Memphis, however the father disagreed.  The mom requested the court docket to determine this situation as effectively.

The trial court docket entered an interim order calling for the kid to go to the Memphis faculty.  As a result of the tutoring was larger, the interim order requested the daddy to pay solely half of the previous tuition.

The court docket additionally discovered that the transfer was a cloth change of circumstances and for that cause modified the custody preparations.  The court docket named the mom the first residential father or mother, with the daddy having visitation on some weekends.

Sooner or later earlier than the ultimate listening to, the daddy introduced the kid to his lawyer’s workplace, the place the kid signed an affidavit indicating her want to dwell with the daddy.  This was filed with the court docket, however the mom by no means obtained a duplicate.  The mom filed one other contempt petition over a variety of points, together with the assembly within the legal professional’s workplace.

The trial court docket ordered the affidavit stricken from the file, and the daddy was ordered to pay legal professional charges referring to the affidavit.

A trial was held, beginning with the legal contempt listening to., and the daddy was held in legal contempt for discussing litigation points with the kid.  He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, with 9 days suspended.

The mom was named the first residential father or mother.  Though the kid had expressed her needs on the contrary, the court docket held that this was tainted by the daddy’s discussing the matter together with her.  The court docket additionally set baby help.

The ultimate order additionally granted the mom major decision-making energy.

After one closing skirmish involving the daddy’s posting a bond over past-due baby help, the daddy appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

The daddy first argued that the decrease court docket had been unduly harsh in sanctioning him for discovery violations.  The daddy’s means to supply proof had been restricted at trial due to failure to reveal info.  After reviewing the proof, the appeals court docket agreed that the decrease court docket had acted inside its discretion and affirmed.

The daddy additionally argued that the kid ought to have been allowed to testify at trial.  This testimony had been excluded partly as a result of the mom stipulated that the kid would have testified that she most well-liked to dwell with the daddy.

The daddy argued that this wasn’t actually a stipulation, as a result of it was not a mutual settlement as to a reality.  However after analyzing the entire details, the appeals court docket held that the actions of the events amounted to a stipulation as to that situation.

The daddy additionally argued that the decrease court docket had misapplied one of the best curiosity components in reaching its resolution.  On this situation, the appeals court docket discovered that there was an inadequate file to evaluation the difficulty.  For that cause, it remanded the case for the decrease court docket to make extra detailed factual findings on the difficulty.  Within the meantime, the non permanent order would stay in impact.

The appeals court docket additionally reviewed the contempt order and held that the daddy’s actions in taking the kid to his legal professional’s workplace constituted willfulness.  Subsequently, it affirmed the contempt order.

For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals remanded the case for additional reality discovering.

No. W2017-02443-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 9,  2020).

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Modifying Custody & Parenting Plans.

See additionally Tennessee Parenting Plans and Child Support Worksheets: Building a Constructive Future for Your Family that includes examples of parenting plans and baby help worksheets from actual circumstances out there on Amazon.com.


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