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Sisco v. Howard

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 12, 2016

JANA MARIA DEBOE HOWARD SISCO
v.
ROBERT GLYNN HOWARD

          Session: September 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No. MCCCCVDV102199 Laurence M. McMillan, Jr., Chancellor Sitting By Interchange

         Jana Maria Deboe Howard Sisco ("Mother") appeals the March 31, 2015 order of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County ("the Trial Court") modifying the Permanent Parenting Plan entered when Mother and Robert Glynn Howard ("Father") divorced. Mother raises issues regarding whether a material change in circumstances justifying a modification had occurred and, if so, whether a modification was in the best interest of the parties' minor children. We find and hold that the March 31, 2015 order fails to comply with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 52.01. We, therefore, vacate the March 31, 2015 order and remand this case to the Trial Court to make specific findings of fact and conclusions of law in compliance with Tenn. R. Civ. P. 52.01.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Vacated Case Remanded

          Debra A. Wall, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jana Marie Deboe Howard Sisco.

          Christopher J. Pittman and Zachary L. Talbot, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Robert Glynn Howard.

          D. Michael Swiney, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE

         Background

         Mother and Father were divorced in March of 2011. Pursuant to the Permanent Parenting Plan incorporated in the Final Decree of Divorce, Mother was granted 244 days per year with the parties' two minor children ("the Children") with Father having 121 days.

         In July of 2014, Father filed a Petition to Modify Parenting Plan alleging, in pertinent part, that there had been a material change in circumstances as a result of several factors including Father's relocation to Kentucky and the parties' alleged failure to adhere to the Permanent Parenting Plan. Father's proposed modifications to the Permanent Parenting Plan would result in Mother having 255 days per year with the Children and Father having 110 days. Mother responded to Father's petition to modify opposing the petition and stating, in part, that "the disputes which have arisen between these parties do warrant a minor revision to the existing Parenting Plan, so as to prevent disputes and unpleasant differences regarding interpretations of the parties' Parenting Plan in the future." Mother attached a proposed parenting plan to her response to Father's petition.

         The case was tried without a jury in March of 2015. After trial the Trial Court entered its order on March 31, 2015 stating:

This cause is before the court upon the Father's Petition to Modify the Parenting Plan entered on March 21, 2011 in connection with the parties' divorce. The parties attended mediation and were able to resolve numerous issues in this case; however, seventeen questions were presented to this court for resolution. Upon the testimony of the parties, the statements of counsel ...

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