Session August 23, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Sumner County No. 2012-CV-1285 Joe
H. Thompson, Judge
V. and Teresa V. ("Petitioners") appeal the May 26,
2015 order of the Circuit Court for Sumner County ("the
Trial Court") dismissing their Petition for Adoption and
Termination of Parental Rights ("the Petition")
based upon Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-119. We find and hold
that Petitioners have shown good cause why the Petition
should not be dismissed, and we vacate the Trial Court's
May 26, 2015 order, reinstate the Petition, and remand this
case for further proceedings.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Vacated Case Remanded
B. Garner, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellants, Jerome V.
and Teresa V.
N. Oldham, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jeremy M.
B. Hawkins, Gallatin, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem.
MICHAEL SWINEY, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which FRANK G. CLEMENT, JR., P.J., M.S. and JOHN W. MCCLARTY,
MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE
November 13, 2012, Petitioners filed the Petition seeking to
terminate the parental rights of Jeremy M.
("Respondent"), David G. ("Father"), and
Destiny C. ("Mother") to the minor child Halley M.
("the Child"). Petitioners are the Child's
maternal uncle and aunt. The Child had lived with Petitioners
for more than two years when the Petition was filed.
Respondent and Mother were not married to each other.
Respondent, however, is listed as the father on the
Child's birth certificate, and Respondent signed a
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity ("VAP") when
the Child was born.
January of 2013, Respondent filed a motion seeking to have a
guardian ad litem appointed for the child and giving notice
of hearing on his previously filed motion to compel parenting
time. The Trial Court entered an order on January 24, 2013,
appointing a guardian ad litem, finding that the Juvenile
Court had entered an order in November of 2012 granting
Respondent supervised visitation, and holding that Respondent
was granted visitation with the Child, but that such
visitation need not be supervised.
February of 2013, Petitioners filed a notice of filing DNA
test results, which show that Father, not Respondent, is the
biological father of the Child. Petitioners then filed a
motion to modify, suspend, or reduce Respondent's
parenting time or to require that Respondent's vistiation
be supervised. Respondent filed a motion to expand his
parenting time. The Guardian ad Litem then filed an ex parte
emergency motion to suspend Respondent's parenting time
alleging that the Child had been frightened during a
visitation when Respondent forced her to lie about her age so
she could drive a go-cart; that despite Respondent attempting
to grow his hair for three months, the testing facility was
unable to obtain a sufficient sample to conduct a drug test;
that Mother allegedly had admitted that although Respondent
was incarcerated at the time she conceived the Child, she and
Respondent had agreed to falsely complete a VAP when the
Child was born; and that Respondent had an active and
outstanding warrant and the Tennessee Department of
Corrections website listed Respondent's status as
Trial Court granted an ex parte emergency restraining order
suspending Respondent's parenting time. By order entered
July 17, 2013, the Trial Court extended the restraining order
finding that Respondent was not present at the ...