Assigned on Briefs January 3, 2018
from the Juvenile Court for Montgomery County No. 16-JV-1593
Kenneth R. Goble, Judge.
appeal involves a custody dispute between the unmarried
parents of a minor child. Mother filed a petition in the
juvenile court seeking custody of the minor child, a
determination of Father's child support arrearage, the
establishment of a child support order, the entry of a
permanent parenting plan, and an award of attorney's
fees. Mother also sought a temporary restraining order
preventing Father from removing the child from her care,
custody, and control. Following several pre-trial hearings,
the case proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the trial,
the juvenile court awarded visitation to Father. Within days
of the trial, Mother filed a motion to vacate the juvenile
court's ruling based on Mother's allegation that
Father had perjured himself at the trial. Following a hearing
at which Father failed to appear, the juvenile court
suspended Father's visitation, and in a reversal of the
its prior decision, ordered Father to pay all of Mother's
attorney's fees incurred throughout the proceedings.
Because we find that the juvenile court's orders fail to
comply with the requirements of Tennessee Rule of Civil
Procedure 52.01 such that we are unable to determine the
basis for the juvenile court's decisions, we vacate the
court's orders pertaining to the establishment of a
permanent parenting plan, the suspension of Father's
parenting time, and attorney's fees, and we remand for
more detailed findings of facts and conclusions of law.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile
Court Vacated and Remanded
R. Potter, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ted K.
Gregory D. Smith, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee,
B. Goldin, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Andy D. Bennett and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.
B. GOLDIN, JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case involves a custody dispute between the unmarried
biological parents of Carter K. ("the child"). On
December 2, 2016, Whitney C. ("Mother") filed a
"Petition for Restraining Order, Implementation of
Parenting Plan, and to Establish Child Support" in the
juvenile court for Montgomery County against Ted K.
petition, Mother asked that the juvenile court enter a
restraining order prohibiting Father from removing the minor
child from her care, custody, and control pending further
orders of the court because Father had repeatedly threatened
to take the child and flee out of Tennessee. The petition
averred that Father's girlfriend, Vanessa D.
("Girlfriend"), had recently attempted suicide and
engaged in violence in the presence of Father and both of
Girlfriend's own children. Among other allegations,
Mother's petition also averred that Father and Girlfriend
possessed illegal drugs, and that both had repeatedly
threatened Mother over the phone using extreme profanity. In
addition to the restraining order, Mother sought child
support arrears, an order setting future child support, the
entry of a permanent parenting plan naming her as the primary
residential parent, and an award of her attorney's fees.
December 5, 2016, the juvenile court issued a restraining
order temporarily prohibiting Father from "removing the
minor child … from the care, custody and control of
his Mother." A show cause hearing on the restraining
order was set for January 6, 2017.
January 3, 2017, Father filed an answer to Mother's
petition, a motion to dismiss the restraining order, and a
counter-complaint asking the juvenile court to award him
custody of the minor child and child support. Following the
hearing on January 6, 2017, the juvenile court entered an
order on January 20, 2017, keeping the "restraining
order" in effect pending further orders of the court. In
its order of January 20, 2017, denying Father's motion to
dismiss the restraining order, the juvenile court made a
finding that Father "has no credibility before this
Court based upon his untruthful testimony[.]"
January 9, 2017, Father filed a "Motion for Supervised
Visitation, " which Mother opposed. By order of February
17, 2017, the juvenile court denied Father's motion for
temporary visitation, and again found that Father
"continues to have no credibility before [the juvenile
court] based upon his untruthful
March 31, 2017, Father filed a "Motion for Pendente Lite
Visitation, " which Mother also opposed. Following a
hearing, by order of May 10, 2017, the juvenile court again
denied Father's motion for temporary visitation.
parents submitted parenting plans, and the case went to trial
before the juvenile court on June 1, 2017.
testified that she had received repeated threats from
Girlfriend, and that Girlfriend had repeatedly posted
defamatory comments about Mother on social media. Mother
testified that Girlfriend's threats and comments have
caused her to become fearful of Girlfriend, and that
Girlfriend's behavior has caused Mother to conclude that
Girlfriend threatens the well-being of her and the minor
testified at the trial that he was no longer in a
relationship with Girlfriend. Specifically, the following
exchange occurred at trial:
Q: [Father's attorney] There's been a lot of talk
about [Girlfriend]. [Girlfriend] was your girlfriend?
A: [Father] Correct.
Q: [Father's attorney] What is you-all's relationship
A: [Father] I am single.
Q: [Father's attorney] Who ended it?
A: [Father] It was mutual. This whole ordeal was-
Q: [The Court] He's single. Does that mean he's had a