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Gider v. Hubbell

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 27, 2017

SINAN GIDER
v.
LYDIA HUBBELL

          Session February 23, 2017

         Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Davidson County No. AC1999585, 2008-5426 Sheila Calloway, Judge

         On the petition of a father, a juvenile court held the mother of father's child in civil contempt. The court found 19 separate instances of mother violating three orders enjoining her from making certain derogatory comments, both in person and on social media. Our review of the record leads us to conclude that the mother violated only two of the orders cited by the father. We also conclude that the court erred in holding the mother in contempt for two of the counts alleged by the father. Even so, the juvenile court properly found the mother in contempt for 17 violations of court orders, and we find the sanctions imposed by the court to be appropriate. Therefore, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile Court Affirmed in Part and Reversed in Part

          Lydia Ann Hubbell, Antioch, Tennessee, pro se appellant.

          Sarah L. Reist, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sinan Gider.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and Andy D. Bennett, J., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE

         I.

         This is the second appeal arising from the relationship of Lydia Hubbell ("Mother") and Sinan Gider ("Father") and the parenting of their child, Dilara.[1] Shortly after Dilara's birth, in October 2008, the parties entered into a parenting agreement in which Mother was designated as primary residential parent and Father had parenting time 180 days out of the year. However, the parents did not follow the parenting plan and, instead, operated under an informal arrangement whereby each spent substantially equal time with the child.

         A. Petitions to Modify the Custody Arrangement

         On May 20, 2014, in the Juvenile Court for Davidson County, Tennessee, Father filed a pleading entitled, "Petition to Establish Parenting Plan and Deny Mother's Request to Homeschool the Child." In his petition, Father alleged that there had been a material change in circumstances due to Mother's unstable mental health, problems with her physical health, and the condition of Mother's home. He also alleged that homeschooling, as proposed by Mother, was not in the child's best interest. Father requested that he be named primary residential parent with Mother having parenting time two days a week or every other weekend. The same day, Father also filed a motion to enjoin Mother from homeschooling Dilara. Mother filed an answer/counter-petition on June 6, 2014, in which she sought sole decision-making authority for the child.

         On July 15, 2014, a magistrate judge entered an order enjoining Mother from homeschooling the child based on concerns over Mother's lack of organizational skills and health. The order granted Father permission to apply to private school for the child, and if the parties could not agree upon where to send Dilara to school, they were to return to court for a hearing on the matter. After conducting a hearing, the magistrate entered an order on July 21, 2014, providing that Dilara would attend the public elementary school for which Mother was zoned. The magistrate judge also ordered both parties to refrain from making negative remarks about the child's schooling situation or the court's order in front of the child.

         Subsequently, Father filed a notice of nonsuit. The magistrate dismissed Father's petition without prejudice but kept its orders enjoining the Mother from homeschooling and ordering the child to attend public school in place. For her part, Mother filed a motion requesting to proceed as plaintiff on her request for sole decision-making authority and to homeschool the child, which was granted.

         On January 5, 2015, the magistrate judge entered an order ruling upon Mother's counter-petition. The magistrate kept the previous order enjoining Mother from homeschooling in place and ordered parents to continue with joint decision-making. The parents were also ordered to attend a co-parenting class. The magistrate judge further ordered the parents to refrain from discussing the custody case "in any form or fashion" in front of the child and specifically ordered Mother not to "post anything on social media sites relating to the Child's behavior or her negative thoughts about the Father, nor shall she make negative statements about the Father to any joint friends of the parties." Thereafter, Mother filed a motion for rehearing with the juvenile court judge.

         On February 24, 2015, Father filed a new petition to modify and/or establish a permanent parenting plan. Father again proposed that he be named primary residential parent, but this time, he proposed that Mother exercise parenting time from Saturday at 3:00 p.m. until Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and on Wednesdays after school from 3:00-6:00 p.m. This proposal represented a significant change from their prior informal parenting arrangement. Father also requested that he be granted sole educational decision-making authority for the child.

         Mother's request to rehear and Father's petition to modify and/or establish a permanent parenting plan were combined and set for trial before a juvenile court judge. Pending trial, the court ordered that Father would exercise parenting time during the week and Mother would exercise ...


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