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Howard v. Halford

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

December 22, 2014

ERIC BRYAN HOWARD
v.
KELLY JO HALFORD

Assigned on Briefs October 13, 2014

Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Cumberland County No. 2012-JV-2632 Larry Michael Warner, Judge

Cynthia Fields Davis, Crossville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric Bryan Howard.

Justin C. Angel, Pikeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kelly Jo Halford.

THOMAS R. FRIERSON, II, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which CHARLES D. SUSANO, C.J., and D. MICHAEL SWINEY, J., joined.

OPINION

THOMAS R. FRIERSON, II, JUDGE

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The facts underlying this action are essentially undisputed. At the time the parties' son, Colton ("the Child"), was born in September 2010, the plaintiff, Eric Bryan Howard ("Father"), and the defendant, Kelly Jo Halford ("Mother"), were living together. The parties subsequently separated, and Father began working offshore in Texas while maintaining his domicile in Tennessee. On March 9, 2012, Father filed a petition to establish parentage, requesting a DNA test to prove paternity, residential co-parenting time with the Child, and establishment of child support.[1] On June 6, 2012, the trial court entered a temporary order, inter alia, granting Father's request for a DNA test and ratifying a temporary agreement reached by the parties as to residential co-parenting time. Mother was designated as the primary residential parent, with Father to enjoy co-parenting time with the Child when he was "home from his employment" "Monday through Friday while [Mother was] at work." Co-parenting time was also designated for Father during specific weekends in the two months following the agreement.

The parties proceeded to mediation on October 5, 2012, and subsequently filed a mediated agreement on October 9, 2012. Pursuant to this agreement, the parties would exchange the Child "the day after Father returns home from sea." Father was then to "keep [the Child] until the second weekend." The Child would reside with Mother "from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 p.m. Sunday each 2nd weekend."

Having received and reviewed the results of the DNA testing, the trial court entered an order on January 4, 2013, declaring Father "the natural and biological father" of the Child. The court entered a permanent parenting plan order, memorializing an agreement reached by the parties. The permanent parenting plan, signed by both parties' counsel, included the following provision as to the residential schedule:

DAY-TO-DAY SCHEDULE

The X mother__ father shall have responsibility for the care of the child or children except at the following times when the other parent shall have responsibility: The parties shall exchange the minor child on the day after the Father returns home from sea. The Father shall keep the minor child until the second (2nd) weekend with the Mother receiving parenting time from 6:00 p.m. on Friday to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday each second (2nd) weekend the Father is home from work.
The Father shall also have responsibility for the care of the child at the additional parenting times specified below:

From: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00

Day and Time

a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Day and Time


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