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Brantley v. Brantley

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

September 15, 2017

SHAYLA LEANNE GUY BRANTLEY
v.
CORDARY QUINCY VERNARD BRANTLEY

          Session September 6, 2017

         Appeal from the Chancery Court for Sumner County No. 2015-DM-325 Louis W. Oliver, III, Chancellor

         In this divorce action, Father contends the trial court erred by adding substantive restrictions to the parties' agreed upon Permanent Parenting Plan that, inter alia, imposed "paramour" and "lifestyle" restrictions on Father that were not imposed on Mother. We have determined that the trial court unilaterally imposed substantive and material restrictions on Father's activities during his parenting time without affording him an evidentiary hearing. We have also determined that some of the restrictions placed on Father are too vague to be enforceable and that the Statement of the Evidence does not provide a factual basis for the restrictions placed on Father. For these reasons we vacate the judgment of the trial court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

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

          Morgan E. Smith, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Cordary Quincy Vernard Brantley.

          Shayla Leanne Guy Brantley, Gallatin, Tennessee, pro se.

          Frank G. Clement Jr., P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which D. Michael Swiney, C.J., and Richard H. Dinkins, J., joined.

          OPINION

          FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR., P.J., M.S.

         Cordary Quincy Vernard Brantley ("Father") filed a pro se complaint for divorce from Shayla Leanne Guy Brantley ("Mother") in the Sumner County Chancery Court on September 17, 2015.[1] Two children were born during the marriage. Mother did not contest the divorce.

         At a hearing on August 1, 2016, Father made an oral request for genetic testing based on concerns that the youngest child born of the marriage was not his biological child.[2] The court denied the oral motion and set the uncontested divorce for final hearing on August 22, 2016.

         The purpose of the hearing on August 22 was for the trial court to consider and either approve or reject the Final Decree of Divorce that incorporated the agreed upon Marital Dissolution Agreement and Permanent Parenting Plan. During the hearing, the court heard from both parties who revealed, inter alia, that Father was HIV positive and in a relationship with a male paramour. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court modified the Final Decree of Divorce by adding handwritten "Injunctions by Court" that read:

No corporal punishment of children by either party. No paramours overnight and paternal uncle may not be around children. No homosexual activity around children. Father to avoid body fluid exchange with children, no bathing, showering or sleeping with children. Children exchanged at Rivergate Mall unless parties agree otherwise. Father may have no paramours around children whatsoever.

         The Marital Dissolution Agreement provided that the division of court costs "will be discussed later amongst both parties after the divorce decree has been processed and final fees are drawn up." Following ...


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