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In re Caleb F.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

November 28, 2017

In re CALEB F. et al.

          Session September 7, 2017

         Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Montgomery County No. 14-JV-794, 14-JV-795 Timothy K. Barnes, Judge

         Shortly after entry of an agreed permanent parenting plan, Father filed a petition to find Mother in contempt and to modify the parenting plan. The petition alleged that a material change in circumstance had occurred since the adoption of the agreed plan, such as Mother allegedly interfering with Father's parenting time. The juvenile court found a material change in circumstance had occurred and modified the parenting plan by increasing Father's parenting time. From this ruling, Father appealed, claiming that the court erred by not granting him equal parenting time. Because the court's order modifying the plan contains insufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law, we vacate and remand.

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

          Sharon T. Massey, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Bryan F.

          Mark R. Olson and Taylor R. Dahl, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kera S.

          W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy B. Bennett and Richard H. Dinkins, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE.

         I.

         On December 18, 2014, Bryan F. ("Father") filed a petition in the Juvenile Court for Montgomery County, Tennessee, for civil contempt against Kera S. ("Mother") and for modification of permanent parenting plan. The plan, which had been approved by an October 8, 2014 order, addressed the parties' two children: Caleb F., born in May 2007, and Jack F., born in February 2009 (together, the "children"). According to the order approving the plan, the parties had "reached a substantial agreement with regard to the terms of the [plan]." The plan designated Mother as the primary residential parent and awarded her 295 days of parenting time each year, while Father received 70 days.

         In his modification petition, Father alleged that Mother had "willfully violated the Court's Order and plan as follows":

a. By denying the Father his allotted parenting time;
b. By denying the Father the ability to communicate with the children by phone or other means;
c. By demeaning the Father to the children and instructing them to lie to him[;]
d. By harassing the Father to his Army superiors about child support despite his compliance with the Court's Order;
e. By failing or refusing to inform Father of medical emergencies of children;
f. Mother is intentionally scheduling events and appointments for children on Father's days of visitation.

         Based on these allegations, Father asserted that a material change in circumstance warranted a modification of the parties' agreed parenting plan. Father sought, among other things, "more time with the children" and a "recalculat[ion of] any award of child support arrearages based upon any re-calculated child support figures resulting from this petition."

         Mother filed a response, generally denying all material allegations in Father's petition. She counter-petitioned for civil and criminal contempt, alleging that Father abused the children and ...


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