Session March 15, 2018
from the Chancery Court for Sumner County No. 2015-DM-373
Louis W. Oliver, Chancellor
divorce action, the mother argues that, in making the father
the primary residential parent, the trial court did not give
adequate weight to the father's relocation with the
children against her wishes at the time of the parties'
separation. We affirm the decision of the trial court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Lynn Conklin, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Kristina Marie Bolin.
Stephan Francis King, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee,
Jeffrey Michael Bolin.
D. Bennett, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and Richard H. Dinkins,
D. BENNETT, JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Marie Bolin ("Mother") and Jeffrey Michael Bolin
("Father") married in 2007 and had two children,
William, born in 2010, and Lauren, born in 2013. For most of
the parties' marriage, Mother was the primary
breadwinner, and the parties moved a number of times to
further her career.
2012, Mother began working for Humana in Louisville,
Kentucky, but she worked from the parties' home in
Lexington. The parties agreed that Husband would stay home
and care for the children while Mother was working. Mother
went into the office in Louisville approximately once a week.
In August 2014, Mother began working on her master's
degree in business administration ("MBA") in a
program requiring her to attend classes on Fridays and
Saturdays every other weekend. The maternal grandmother lived
with the parties from July to October 2014 and assisted with
the care of the children.
2014, the parties were experiencing difficulties in their
marriage. On October 25, 2014, Mother returned home from an
accounting class and found a letter from Father stating that
he had taken the children and gone to stay with his parents
in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Mother twice petitioned the
Family Court of Fayette County, Kentucky for an emergency
order of protection in October 2014, but the court denied
both petitions on the grounds that they failed to "state
an act or threat of violence." Mother filed a petition
for divorce in Kentucky on October 27, 2014. On January 16,
2015, the Kentucky court held a hearing and, in an order
entered on February 10, 2015, ordered a custody evaluation
and awarded Mother temporary parenting time every other
weekend. The Kentucky divorce action was nonsuited by the
parties on December 1, 2015.
filed a petition for divorce in Tennessee on December 2,
2015, on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and
inappropriate marital conduct. Father filed an answer and
counter-complaint alleging the same grounds. On December 21,
2015, Father also filed a motion to establish a temporary
parenting schedule and for an injunction pendente lite to
enjoin Mother from allowing the parties' children
"to be in contact with or in the presence of any
extramarital dating partners or paramours." Father filed
a statement of income and expenses showing no income and
monthly expenses of approximately $3, 346.17 per month.
hearing on January 11, 2016, the trial court entered an order
on January 21, 2016, in which it provided that the children
would continue to reside with Father and to have weekend
parenting time with Mother; Father would receive child
support in the amount of $1, 332.00 per month based upon
Mother's income of $9, 583.00 per month and Father's
imputed income of $3, 132.00 per month. The trial court
denied Father's requests for temporary alimony and an
injunction pendente lite.
April 8, 2016, Mother filed a motion to modify the January
11, 2016 temporary parenting plan, arguing that there had
been a material change of circumstances in that she was no
longer residing with a member of the opposite sex and was
entitled to credit for health insurance premiums she paid on
behalf of the children. She requested a week on, week off
parenting schedule. On August 26, 2016, the court entered an
agreed order giving Mother additional temporary parenting
time on long weekends and school breaks.
September 13, 2016, Mother filed another motion to modify the
January 11, 2016 temporary parenting plan based upon a
substantial and material change in circumstances. She
asserted that the older child was having disciplinary
problems at school and faced out-of-school suspension, that
Father had misinformed the school about Mother's role in
the child's education, and that the parties disagreed
concerning whether the child should be on medication. Mother
requested that the temporary parenting plan be modified to
make her the primary residential parent. Father opposed the
motion. The record does not contain an order addressing
February 3, 2017, Father filed his proposed parenting plan in
which he provided that he would be the primary residential
parent and Mother would have all three-day weekends during
the school year, every fall and spring break, Mother's
Day, alternating Easter and Thanksgiving breaks, half of
winter vacation, and five weeks during summer vacation, for a
total of 84.5 days a year. Under Mother's proposed
parenting plan, filed on February 22, 2017, she would be the
primary residential parent, and Father would have parenting
time during all three-day weekends during the school year,
every fall and spring break, all but ten days of summer
vacation, half of Thanksgiving break, half of winter
vacation, every Father's Day, July 4th, and Easter
weekend, for a total of 111 days a year.
case was heard on March 1 and 2, 2017. The witnesses included
Janie Berryman, Ph.D., a psychologist who performed a custody
evaluation. The trial court entered its final decree of
divorce, incorporating a memorandum opinion and order, on
April 25, 2017. Based upon the letter that Father wrote to
Mother in October 2014, the court concluded that Father did
not "abscond" with the children as Mother claimed,
but that he was attempting to save the marriage. The trial
court granted the divorce to Father based upon inappropriate
marital conduct. The court went through all of the statutory
factors regarding custody set out at Tenn. Code Ann. §
36-6-106(a) and concluded that Father should be the primary
residential parent. Wife would have the children all
three-day holiday weekends during the school year and every
fall and spring break. She also had the option to visit the
children in Tennessee an additional time every month with two
weeks' notice to Father; these visits would be from 10:00
a.m. Saturday to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Moreover, Mother would
have parenting time for the first eight weeks of summer
vacation. The parenting plan divides the remaining holidays.
31, 2017, the trial court denied Father's motion to
amend. Mother appeals.
consolidate Mother's appellate arguments as follows:
whether the trial court abused its discretion in failing to
give adequate weight to Father's relocation with the
children over Mother's objection in its determination of
the primary residential parent and the parenting schedule.
review of the trial court's findings of fact is de novo
with a presumption that the findings are correct unless the
evidence preponderates otherwise. Tenn. R. App. P. 13(d);
Armbrister v. Armbrister, 414 S.W.3d 685, 692 (Tenn.
2013). Evidence preponderates against the trial court's
findings of fact when it "support[s] another finding of
fact with greater convincing effect." Hopwood v.
Hopwood, No. M2015-01010-COA-R3-CV, 2016 WL 3537467, *4
(Tenn. Ct. App. June 23, 2016) (citing Walker v. Sidney
Gilreath & Assocs., 40 S.W.3d 66, 71 (Tenn. Ct. App.
2000)). We review a trial court's conclusions of ...