Session: August 6, 2019
from the Circuit Court for Montgomery County No.
CC-2016-CV-398 Ted A. Crozier, Judge.
post-divorce appeal concerns the trial court's
modification of a permanent parenting plan. We affirm the
parenting plan determination and all other rulings by the
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
T. Bateman, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Latonya Denise Hall.
P. Bryant, Clarksville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sammie
Lee Williams, III.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J. M.S, and Andy D. Bennett, J.,
W. McCLARTY, JUDGE.
Denise Hall ("Mother") and Sammie Lee Williams, III
("Father") married in 2003. Two children were born
of the marriage. The Parties were divorced in December 2007
in Seoul, Korea. At that time, the Parties were in the U.S.
Army and stationed in Korea. The court awarded joint custody
but designated Mother as the primary residential parent and
tasked Father with remitting child support. The Children
resided primarily with Mother at that time; however, they
began residing with Father when he returned from deployment
in 2014. The Parties agreed that the Children would remain
with Father for approximately one year. When Mother attempted
to retrieve the Children in 2015, Father and his wife
filed a petition to register and modify the court's order
on March 4, 2016, in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.
During the pendency of the hearing, Mother received orders to
return to Korea. The Parties then entered into an agreed
temporary order on August 4, 2016, awarding Father physical
custody of the Children, pending further orders of the court.
Mother was provided with the right to telephone communication
during her deployment.
returned from deployment in September 2017. The case
proceeded to a hearing in July 2018. At that time, Father had
retired and was residing in Clarksville, Tennessee. Mother
was stationed in Texas but had also applied for retirement.
She planned to remain in Texas following her retirement.
testified concerning Father and Stepmother's refusal to
communicate during her last deployment. She submitted
documents establishing that her ability to speak with the
Children was severely hampered by them. She alleged that
Father and Stepmother also provided her with an incorrect
address, resulting in her inability to send the Children
gifts during her deployment.
denied Mother's claims and asserted that she failed to
remit child support while the Children have been in his care
for approximately four years. He claimed that the Children
are doing well in Clarksville. He stated that the Children
receive above-average grades, are involved in extracurricular
activities, and have developed friendships while living in
Clarksville. He stated that the Children also live with their
half-siblings and that the paternal grandparents planned to
move to Clarksville in October.
trial court found that a material change in circumstances had
occurred that necessitated a change in the parenting plan.
The court found that the Children were not residing
exclusively with Mother as anticipated by the existing
parenting plan but had instead lived together with the
Parties, with relatives, or with Father for extended periods
of time. The Court explained its findings as follows:
a. From December 11, 2007[, ] until March 2008, the [P]arties
lived together as a family in Korea;
b. In March 2008, the [P]arties relocated from Korea to Fort
Lewis, Washington and lived together as a family in
Washington from March 2008 until June 2009;
c. From June 2009 until June 2010, the [C]hildren resided
with [the maternal grandparents] in the State of Florida;
d. From June 2010 until September 2010, the [C]hildren
resided with [Father] in Fort Lewis, Washington;
e. From September 2010 until February 2011, the [P]arties
resided together as a family in Washington;
f. From March 2011 until September 2011, the [C]hildren
resided with the Mother and therefore, child support should
have been paid by [Father] during this period of time; g.
From October 2011 until June 2012, the [C]hildren resided
h. From June 2012 until July 2014, the [C]hildren resided
with [Mother] in Virginia and therefore, child support
should have been paid by [Father] during this period of
i. From August ...