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Grigsby v. Alvis-Crawford

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

January 31, 2017

JONATHAN D. GRIGSBY
v.
ALEXANDRA ALVIS-CRAWFORD

          Assigned on Briefs Date: October 4, 2016

         Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Tipton County No. 14-JV-148 William A. Peeler, Judge No. W2016-00393-COA-R3-JV - Filed January 31, 2017

         This custody dispute involves the child born to Jonathan D. Grigsby (Father) and Alexandra Alvis-Crawford (Mother). In July 2014, the parties were residing together when Mother moved out of the house with the child and refused to let Father see or talk to him. Shortly thereafter, Mother had medical issues and was admitted to the hospital where she remained until September 2014. During this time, the child lived in the home of the maternal grandparents of the child. Because the maternal grandparents refused to allow Father to see or speak with the child, he filed a petition seeking an ex parte order for immediate custody of his minor child. Based on Father's petition, the trial court entered an order finding that the grandparents were unlawfully keeping the child from Father. The trial court gave Father immediate temporary custody of the child. The trial court did not make a permanent custody determination at that time. In December 2014, Mother filed a petition for custody. In January 2016, the trial court held a hearing on Father's amended emergency petition and Mother's petition. The trial court found that it is in the best interest of the child to stay with Father. Accordingly, the court designated Father as the primary residential parent. Mother appeals. We affirm.

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

          Edwin C. Lenow, Memphis, Tennessee, for appellant, Alexandra Alvis-Crawford.

          Paola Palazzolo-West, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jonathan D. Grigsby.

          Charles D. SuSANO, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE

         I.

         Mother and Father were never married to each other. Mother has one child from a previous marriage. The parties had a child together in August 2011. In July 2014, while Father was at work, Mother moved out of Father's home with the child. Mother refused to allow Father to see the child. A few days later, Mother went into septic shock and was hospitalized until the end of September 2014.

         When Mother entered the hospital, the child stayed with the maternal grandparents. During the time Mother was hopitalized, the maternal grandparents refused Father's requests to visit or speak with the child. Despite Father's continuing efforts to make arrangements to see the child, the grandparents told him that he would have to wait until Mother got out of the hospital.

         Due to his inability to contact his child, Father filed an emergency petition for an ex parte order for immediate custody of his minor child. In the petition, Father alleged the following:

That on or about July 1, 2014 and without [his] knowledge or approval, Mother left their residence and took their son with her.
* * *
That upon information and belief, the maternal grandparents . . . have unlawful physical custody of the minor child.
That despite [his] numerous requests, the maternal grandparents refused and continue to refuse to surrender the child back to [him].
That since July 6, 2014, [he] has been denied any and all parenting time with the child, including phone calls.

(Paragraph numbering in original omitted.)

         Based on Father's petition, the trial court entered an order, finding that Father is willing and capable of caring for the child. The court also found that the maternal grandparents were unlawfully keeping the child from Father and interfering with his parenting time. Accordingly, the trial court awarded Father immediate temporary custody of the child and set a hearing to determine permanent custody.

          Mother filed a petition for custody in December 2014. In the petition, she alleged that Father is not a fit person to care for the child due to his history of drug use. She also asserted that it is in the best interest of the child to be with her and the child's half-brother. Following a hearing in January 2016, the court found that it is in the best interest of the child to stay with Father. As a consequence of this, the court designated Father as the primary residential parent. The court also imposed a visitation schedule and ordered that the parties pay their own attorney's fees.

         II.

         Mother raises the following issues, as ...


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