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Wright v. Wright

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

September 6, 2019

ZACHARY RONALD WRIGHT
v.
ANGELENE HOPE WRIGHT

          Assigned on Briefs August 1, 2019

          Appeal from the Chancery Court for Hamilton County No. 18-0283 Pamela A. Fleenor, Chancellor

         After father engaged in abusive conduct, mother petitioned for an order of protection. The trial court granted an ex parte order precluding father from contacting mother and their two minor children and set a hearing. Following a bench trial, the trial court held that the minor children were domestic abuse and sexual assault victims; it extended the order of protection for one year. The court permitted father supervised visitation with his biological daughter once every other week, and awarded mother child support. The court deviated from the amount of support required by the child support guidelines, and instead awarded mother $200 per week. The court did not state the amount of support that would have been ordered under the guidelines nor a justification for the variance. Father appeals. We affirm the extension of the order of protection for one year. We vacate the portion of the trial court's order requiring father to pay excess child support, and remand to the trial court with instructions to make the requisite findings, pursuant to applicable law, and consistent with this opinion.

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

          David C. Veazey, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zachary Ronald Wright.

          Brennan M. Wingerter, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Angelene Hope Wright.

          Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Andy D. Bennett and Carma Dennis McGee, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          CHARLES D. SUSANO, JR., JUDGE

         I.

         Father and mother are married. They have two minor children; father is the biological parent of one. On May 16, 2018, mother petitioned the court for an order of protection against father, and requested protection for the two minor children as well.

         In the petition, mother indicated that she filed the petition because father had stalked her. She alleged that she had confronted father about a series of disturbing events recounted to her by stepdaughter, and that father subsequently "called and texted [mother] all day." She refused to answer.

         The disturbing events mother described in her petition occurred primarily between father and stepdaughter, but involved mother and father's biological daughter as well. Mother alleged that stepdaughter informed her that father had given her medicine to help her sleep that made her feel sick and dizzy. Mother had stepdaughter take a drug test, and concluded that father had given stepdaughter a benzodiazepine. Mother further alleged that stepdaughter told her that father had been upset with stepdaughter and at some point placed a gun to his head in front of her. This scared the stepdaughter. Mother also alleged that stepdaughter told her that father and stepdaughter "sometimes sleep naked together. [Daughter] only slept naked once[, ] but him and [stepdaughter] have done it more than once."

         On May 16, 2018, an ex parte order of protection was granted. It precluded father from having contact with mother, daughter, and stepdaughter prior to the hearing. On May 29, 2018, at father's request, the court entered an order granting a continuance. In its order, the trial court ordered father to pay child support in the amount of $200 a week to mother; no explanation was given as to how the court reached this figure. On August 6, 2018, the trial court entered an order stating that the parties agreed to another continuance; the court ordered that father shall continue to pay $200 a week in child support.

         On October 22, 2018, following a bench trial, the court entered two orders: an order for supervised visitation and an order of protection for one year. In the order for supervised visitation, the court permitted father supervised visitation with his biological daughter ...


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