Session June 6, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Wayne County No. 2014-CV-5387
Stella L. Hargrove, Judge
Father appeals the trial court's decision to name the
Mother as Primary Residential Parent of the parties' two
children. Discerning no error, we affirm the decision of the
trial court, award the Mother her attorneys' fee incurred
on appeal, and remand the case for a determination of the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
D. Jeter and Barbara Fisher Henry, Nashville, Tennessee, for
the appellant, Joshua Shane Norman.
P. Durham and Cameron R. Hoffmeyer, Lawrence, Tennessee, for
the appellee, Julie Ann Norman.
Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court,
in which Andy D. Bennett and W. Neal McBrayer, JJ., joined.
RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE.
Factual and Procedural History
Shane Norman ("Father") and Julie Ann Norman
("Mother") were married on October 17, 2009, and
previously resided in Waynesboro, Tennessee. They are the
parents of two sons, born in May 2011 and October 2012. At
some point during the marriage, Father left Waynesboro and
moved to Oneida, Tennessee, to live with his parents and to
recover from a shoulder surgery; the record does not show
when he moved. Mother filed for divorce on April 25, 2014,
and on June 19 Mother and Father entered into an Agreed
Temporary Parenting Plan. The plan provided that Mother would
have responsibility for the children during the school year,
with Father having parenting time every other weekend; during
the months of June and July, Father was to have parenting
time every other week.
March 23, 2015, Mother was indicted by a Wayne County Grand
Jury for selling a Schedule III drug to a confidential
informant in a school zone. In response to Mother's
arrest, Father filed an Emergency Motion to Modify Temporary
Parenting Plan, requesting that the children immediately be
placed in his care until further notice. The record does not
include an order entered on this motion.
decree of divorce was entered on July 7, 2015; the decree
incorporated the parties' Marital Dissolution Agreement
and another Temporary Parenting Plan. This plan designated
Mother as primary residential parent and gave each parent
182.5 days of residential parenting time. The plan was to be
in effect until June 2016, at which point the parties were to
attend mediation and agree to a permanent plan to be used
during the school year. On June 3, 2016, the court entered an
Agreed Order wherein the parties waived mediation and set a
hearing on a permanent parenting plan for June 30. The
hearing was held, and the court made findings and ruled from
the bench; on August 30 the court entered an order
memorializing its ruling and adopting a new parenting plan,
inter alia, designating Mother as primary
residential parent and granting her 253 days of residential
parenting time and Father 112 days. Father appeals, raising
the following issues:
(1) Whether the trial court erred in designating the mother
as the primary residential parent?
(2) Whether the father is entitled to his reasonable
Standard of Review
courts have "broad discretion in child custody matters,
" Parker v. Parker, 986 S.W.2d 557, 563 (Tenn.
1999), including devising permanent parenting plans and
designating the primary residential parent."
Consequently, a trial court's decision regarding a
permanent parenting plan is "'peculiarly within the
broad discretion of the trial judge' and will be set
aside only for an abuse of discretion." Armbrister
v. Armbrister, 414 S.W.3d 685, 693 (Tenn. 2013) (quoting
Suttles v. Suttles, 748 S.W.2d 427, 429 (Tenn.
1988)). A trial court abuses its discretion when it
"appl[ies] an incorrect legal standard, reaches an
illogical result, resolves the case on a clearly erroneous
assessment of the evidence, or relies on reasoning that
causes an injustice." Id. (quoting
Gonsewski v. Gonsewski, 350 S.W.3d 99, 105 (Tenn.
the abuse of discretion standard, the trial court's
decision "will be upheld so long as reasonable minds can
disagree as to propriety of the decision made."
Eldridge v. Eldridge, 42 S.W.3d 82, 85 (Tenn. 2001).
"It is not the function of appellate courts to
"tweak [parenting plans] in the hopes of achieving a
more reasonable result than the trial court."
Eldridge, 42 S.W.3d at 88. We review the trial
court's factual findings de novo upon the
record, accompanied by a presumption of correctness, unless
the evidence preponderates otherwise. Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d).
We review the trial court's findings of law de
novo, with no presumption of correctness. Blackburn
v. Blackburn, 270 S.W.3d 42, 47 (Tenn. 2008).
Designation of Primary Residential Parent
hearing the court made an oral ruling, which included
findings of fact; the findings and ruling were ...