Home Divorce Lawyer Dad in Contempt After Child Signing Affidavit as to Custody Preference

Dad in Contempt After Child Signing Affidavit as to Custody Preference


Fayette County, Tennessee Courthouse

Tennessee youngster custody modification case abstract.

Robin Drewry Luttrell (Wassenberg) v. Samuel Richard Wassenberg

The mama and father on this Fayette County, Tennessee, parental relocation case have been divorced in 2011 and have been the dad and mom of 1 youngster.  They have been in a position to conform to a everlasting parenting plan which referred to as for equal parenting time, with each dad and mom designated as main residential mum or dad.

When the kid was twelve, the daddy moved to Georgia, and the kid stayed with the mama whereas they mentioned adjustments to the parenting plan.  They have been unable to achieve an agreement, and in 2016, the mama petitioned for a change in parenting plan and to carry the daddy in contempt.  The contempt cost was primarily based on the daddy’s alleged failure to pay bills beneath the plan.  Shortly thereafter, the courtroom entered a consent order prohibiting both mum or dad from discussing the litigation points with the kid.

The father filed a counterpetition and alleged that the kid most popular to dwell with him.  He requested for 285 days of parenting time.

The youngster had particular wants as a consequence of her discovering disabilities, and her faculty had advisable a faculty extra suited to her wants.  The mama chosen a non-public faculty in Memphis, however the father disagreed.  The mama requested the courtroom to resolve this problem as nicely.

The trial courtroom entered an interim order calling for the kid to go to the Memphis faculty.  Because the schooling was larger, the interim order requested the daddy to pay solely half of the previous tuition.

The courtroom additionally discovered that the transfer was a cloth change of circumstances and for that cause modified the custody preparations.  The courtroom named the mama the first residential mum or dad, with the daddy having visitation on some weekends.

At some level earlier than the ultimate listening to, the daddy introduced the kid to his lawyer’s workplace, what place the kid signed an affidavit indicating her want to dwell with the daddy.  This was filed with the courtroom, however the mama by no means acquired a replica.  The mama filed one other contempt petition over quite a few points, together with the assembly within the lawyer’s workplace.

The trial courtroom ordered the affidavit stricken from the document, and the daddy was ordered to pay lawyer charges regarding the affidavit.

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

The mama was named the first residential mum or dad.  Even although the kid had expressed her needs on the contrary, the courtroom held that this was tainted by the daddy’s discussing the matter together with her.  The courtroom additionally set youngster assist.

The last order additionally granted the mama main decision-making energy.

After one last skirmish involving the daddy’s posting a bond over past-due youngster assist, the daddy appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

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

The father additionally argued that the kid ought to have been allowed to testify at trial.  This testament had been excluded partially as a result of the mama stipulated that the kid would have testified that she most popular to dwell with the daddy.

The father argued that this wasn’t actually a stipulation, as a result of it was not a mutual agreement as to a truth.  But after inspecting the entire info, the appeals courtroom held that the actions of the events amounted to a stipulation as to that problem.

The father additionally argued that the decrease courtroom had misapplied one of the best curiosity components in reaching its determination.  On this problem, the appeals courtroom discovered that there was an inadequate document to overview the concern.  For that cause, it remanded the case for the decrease courtroom to make extra detailed factual findings on the concern.  In the meantime, the momentary order would stay in impact.

The appeals courtroom additionally reviewed the contempt order and held that the daddy’s actions in taking the kid to his lawyer’s workplace constituted willfulness.  Therefore, it affirmed the contempt order.

For these causes, the Court of Appeals remanded the case for additional truth discovering.

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

See unique opinion for actual language.  Legal 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 youngster assist worksheets from actual circumstances obtainable on Amazon.com.


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