BRODERICK D. V. CARMEN
JESSICA ANN MURRAY
Assigned on Briefs January 7, 2019
from the General Sessions Court for Putnam County No.
15-CV-65 Steven D. Qualls, Judge
post-divorce dispute, Father petitioned to modify custody,
and Mother filed a counter-petition to modify child support.
At trial, both parents agreed to specific modifications to
the parenting plan and to set child support according to the
Child Support Guidelines. But they could not agree on a
location for exchanging the children. After hearing limited
testimony from the parents, the court chose an exchange
location, set child support, and approved the agreed
parenting plan. Unhappy with aspects of the new plan, Father
filed a motion to alter or amend or for a new trial. The
court denied Father's motion but granted Mother's
motion to recalculate child support to reflect the
parents' actual parenting time. Because the court's
order approving the modified plan does not comply with
Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 52.01 and the record lacks
a sufficient basis to support a best interest determination,
we vacate the modification of the parenting plan and remand
for the court to conduct a new evidentiary hearing on whether
modification of the parenting plan is in the children's
best interest and enter an order compliant with Rule 52.01.
In all other respects, the decision of the trial court is
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the General
Sessions Court Vacated in Part; Affirmed in Part; and Case
F. Hicks, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Broderick
D. V. Carmen.
E. Tribble, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Jessica
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Charles D. Susano, Jr., J., and J. Steven Stafford,
P.J., W.S., joined.
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
August 29, 2014, the Cumberland County Probate and Family
Court granted Broderick D. V. Carmen ("Father") and
Jessica Ann Murray ("Mother") a divorce. As part of
the divorce decree, the court approved and incorporated an
agreed permanent parenting plan for the parties' two
minor children. The plan named Mother the primary residential
parent and granted Father 110 days of residential parenting
time to be exercised on all non-school days.
moved to Wyoming with the children before the divorce was
final. The parenting plan designated St. Louis, Missouri as
the meeting point for exchanging the children for visitation.
Long distance transportation costs were divided equally.
Father was not required to pay child support.
April 20, 2015, Father filed a petition to modify the
permanent parenting plan in the General Sessions Court for
Putnam County, Tennessee. Father sought a change in custody based
on a material change in circumstances. Mother denied
Father's material change allegations and filed a
counter-petition for modification of child support.
trial, the attorneys announced that the parents had agreed to
modify the parenting plan and recalculate child support.
After the attorneys described the specific terms of the
agreement to the court, both parents voiced their approval of
the announced changes.
parents agreed that Mother would remain the primary
residential parent but that the residential parenting
schedule should be modified. The new plan reduced
Father's parenting time to 98 days to be exercised in two
large blocks. Father had custody of the children for the
majority of every summer break and for two additional weeks
during either the fall or winter break, depending on the
year. The parents also agreed to set child support in the new
plan according to the Child Support Guidelines. See
Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-101(e)(2) (Supp. 2019).
they sharply disagreed on the best method for exchanging the
children for visitation. The court heard proof solely on that
issue. After the parents testified, the court ruled that it
was in the best interest of the children for the parents to
meet in Lincoln, ...