Assigned on Briefs July 1, 2016
from the Chancery Court for Lewis County No. 2010CV115 Joseph
father and mother moved to modify a permanent parenting plan
in which they were each named primary residential parent.
Both parents alleged, for different reasons, that a material
change in circumstance had occurred sufficient to modify
custody. After a hearing, the court determined a material
change in circumstance had occurred and that modification of
the current joint custody arrangement was in the child's
best interest. The court named the father the primary
residential parent and granted the mother liberal visitation.
The mother appeals, arguing that the court erred in finding
that her move was a material change and in dismissing her
modification petition. Upon review, we conclude that the
evidence does not preponderate against the chancery
court's findings, and the court did not err in dismissing
Mother's petition. Accordingly, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
G. Freemon, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jenna
Melanie Totty Cagle, Centerville, Tennessee, for the
appellee, James Ryan Skelton.
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John W. McClarty and Brandon O. Gibson, JJ., joined.
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE.
September 30, 2013, Ryan Skelton ("Father") filed a
petition in the Chancery Court for Lewis County, Tennessee,
to modify an agreed permanent parenting plan order concerning
his son, Davin. The agreed permanent parenting plan order
named both Father and Davin's mother, Jenna Skelton
("Mother"), as primary residential parents and
awarded each parent 182.5 days of parenting time each year.
The plan also contained the following provision related to
the child's schooling:
The parties agree that the minor child shall attend Lewis
County School System on Jan. 3rd, 2013 and if he fails to do
so then the Mother shall be in contempt of court. Each party
agrees that before the minor child can be removed from the
Lewis County School System or if the parent relocates outside
of Lewis County, they SHALL have court approval.
modification petition, Father alleged several material
changes had occurred, namely Davin's mother had relocated
outside of Lewis County in violation of the parenting plan,
adopted a "partying" lifestyle, neglected
Davin's educational needs, and engaged in inappropriate
relationships. Father asked the court to award him sole
custody and sole authority to make decisions regarding
initially denied any material change had occurred. Then, on
May 8, 2015, Mother filed a cross-petition also seeking a
custody modification. Mother alleged a material change had
occurred in that Father had changed jobs, and his new job
required him to be away from home Monday through Friday;
thus, he was only able to parent Davin on the weekends.
Proof at Trial
court held a hearing on the cross-petitions to modify custody
on June 23, 2015. We summarize the testimony only to the
extent relevant to Mother's move, Davin's educational