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In re Emersyn W.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 24, 2018

IN RE: EMERSYN W.

          Assigned on Briefs May 1, 2018

          Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Montgomery County No. 17-JV-1033 Kenneth R. Goble, Judge

         This is an appeal from an order changing the Child's surname from that of Mother alone to the double last name of Mother and Father, respectively. The juvenile court determined that the Child's last name should be changed based on a standardized policy of the court because the parents could not reach an agreement. Mother appeals. We reverse.

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

          Mark N. Foster, Madisonville, Kentucky, and Daniel P. Ufford, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Shaye D.

          Wilson W., Jr., Gallatin, Tennessee, Pro se.

          Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., and Richard H. Dinkins, JJ., joined.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The parties to this action, Wilson W., Jr. ("Father") and Shaye D. ("Mother"), are the parents of Emersyn R. D. ("the Child"), who was born in April 2017, out of wedlock. Mother and Father had been in a relationship for about three years; it ended before the Child was born.

         On July 12, 2017, Father filed a petition in juvenile court asking the court to find him to be the lawful father of the Child, to enter a parenting plan and set child support, and to change the Child's last name to Father's last name. On July 24, 2017, Mother responded to Father's petition in juvenile court, asked to be allowed to move with the Child to Alabama, and requested Father pay child support throughout the litigation.

         On October 5, 2017, counsel for Mother and Father appeared before the juvenile court and represented that all issues had been resolved in the case except for the surname of the Child. The Child's surname was listed on the birth certificate as Mother's surname. The juvenile court informed counsel of the "policy" it followed of hyphenating the parents' surnames to create the Child's last name. The court heard no testimony, and no exhibits were offered into evidence. After suggesting that the parties discuss the matter, Mother's counsel and Father's counsel reported to the court that their respective clients could not agree on the Child's surname. The juvenile court verbally ordered for the two surnames to be combined without hyphenation. The trial court issued a written order in this matter on October 11, 2017, simply ordering that the Child's last name be changed to Mother's and Father's surnames, respectively.

         ISSUE

         Mother presents five issues for review on appeal, but there is ...


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