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Bramlett v. Bramlett

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

February 13, 2018

STEPHANIE DIANE BRAMLETT
v.
MICHAEL LEE BRAMLETT

          Session August 10, 2017

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for Bradley County No. V-09-040 Lawrence Howard Puckett, Judge.

         This case involves the intent of Stephanie Diane Ellerman, formerly Bramlett, (mother) to relocate with the parties' minor child. Mother, the primary residential parent, seeks to move from Cleveland, Tennessee to Greenville, Tennessee, a distance of approximately 160 miles. She sent notice to Michael Lee Bramlett (father) of her intent to relocate. The notice indicated that mother intended to relocate because she had remarried and intended to move into her husband's residence. Father responded with a petition objecting to the relocation. The court entered an order allowing mother to move, finding that the move has a reasonable purpose and is not vindictive or meant to interfere with father's co-parenting time. Father appeals. We affirm. We decline mother's request for attorney's fees and expenses at the trial court level. In the exercise of our discretion, we do award to mother her reasonable fees and expenses on appeal.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          Randy Sellers, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael Lee Bramlett.

          Joshua H. Jenne, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephanie Diane Ellerman, formerly Bramlett.

          Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which John W. McClarty and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE.

         I.

         In 2007, mother and father married, and one child was born to their union. Mother later filed for divorce. The trial court entered a final decree of divorce that incorporated a permanent parenting plan. The parenting plan designated mother as the primary residential parent. When the trial court entered the parenting plan, mother lived in Cleveland, Tennessee with relatives.

         Some years after the parties' divorce, mother remarried. Her new husband lives in an ancestral home he owns in Greeneville, Tennessee, approximately 160 miles from mother's residence in Cleveland. After mother remarried, she sent father notice, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108(a), of her intent to move with the child more than fifty miles. Her letter indicated that she intended to relocate to the Greeneville residence of her husband. Father responded with a petition objecting to the relocation and requesting a hearing on the matter pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108(d)(1).

         Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108 provides, in pertinent part, the following:

(a) After custody or co-parenting has been established by the entry of a permanent parenting plan or final order, if a parent who is spending intervals of time with a child desires to relocate outside the state or more than fifty (50) miles from the other parent within the state, the relocating parent shall send a notice to the other parent at the other parent's last known address by registered or certified mail. . . .
(d)(1) If the parents are not actually spending substantially equal intervals of time with the child and the parent spending the greater amount of time with the child proposes to relocate with the child, the other parent may, within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice, file a petition in opposition to removal of the child. . . . The parent spending the greater ...

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