Tennessee case abstract on service of course of.

Todd Randolph Napier v. Kristen C. Napier

The events on this Williamson County, Tennessee, case have been divorced in 2005.  The mom was named the first residential guardian, with the daddy being allowed visitation.  In 2015, the daddy went again to court docket to implement the parenting plan.  The events have been capable of comply with a modification, however the father alleged that the mom was misconstruing and violating the brand new agreed order.  The daddy requested to have the mom held in contempt, the order put aside, and the kid help be recalculated.

The mom made a restricted look and moved to dismiss.  She alleged that she had not been served with the petition.  The trial court docket agreed, and the daddy tried once more.  The mom once more objected based mostly on lack of service.

The daddy employed an lawyer and made a 3rd try.  He alleged lower in revenue and requested for a change of kid help.  The mom filed a counter-petition alleging that the daddy voluntarily give up his job.

Extra motions have been filed, together with the withdrawal of two attorneys for the daddy.  The final one indicated that the daddy was continuing professional se, and listed an e-mail handle.  It failed, nonetheless, to listing any bodily handle.

The daddy by no means answered one of many mom’s petitions, and she or he requested for a default judgment.  She indicated that she had mailed the paperwork and despatched them to a different e-mail handle.  The trial court docket granted the default judgment.

The daddy moved to put aside the default.  He acknowledged that he had notified the mom of his new handle in Missouri.

The daddy conceded that he had by no means formally up to date his mailing handle with the court docket information.  The trial court docket, Decide James G. Martin, III, denied the movement and let the default judgment stand.  The daddy then appealed to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals, which determined the case in an opinion penned by Decide J. Steven Stafford.

The appeals court docket first needed to decide what grounds for aid the daddy was asserting.  Regardless that his argument modified barely on enchantment, he had argued that the judgment was mainly procured by fraud, as a result of the mom despatched the papers to the fallacious handle.

The appeals court docket famous that it’s incumbent upon professional se litigants to maintain their handle updated with the court docket.  It held that with out this rule, it will be inconceivable for the court docket to maintain involved with litigants, and the daddy had failed to satisfy this obligation.

The daddy argued that he wasn’t conscious of any persevering with litigation, however the appeals court docket rejected this argument.

After reviewing the proof, the appeals court docket affirmed.  It additionally awarded the mom her lawyer’s charges on enchantment and remanded the case for a willpower of the quantity.

No. M2019-00978-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 27,  2020).

See authentic opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.

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