Assigned on Briefs September 17, 2019
from the Juvenile Court for Shelby County No. AA9057 Harold
W. Horne, Special Judge
appeals the juvenile court's decision to deny him equal
parenting time. Because the trial court's order does not
contain sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law as
to the statutory best interest factors contained in Tennessee
Code Annotated section 36-6-106(a), we vacate the judgment of
the trial court and remand for the entry of a proper order.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Juvenile
Court Vacated and Remanded
Princess Woodard, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant,
LaFayette Baptist, Jr.
Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., delivered the opinion of the
court, in which W. Neal McBrayer, and Carma Dennis McGee,
STEVEN STAFFORD, JUDGE
Facts and Procedural History
October 21, 2014, the State of Tennessee, along with
Petitioner Takesha Curtiss Nelvis ("Mother"), filed
an action to recover child support against
Defendant/Appellant LaFayette Baptist, Jr.
("Father"). The petition alleged that Father owed
back child support for the parties' nonmarital child,
born in March 2012. Eventually, on June 16, 2015, a juvenile
court magistrate entered an order requiring Father to pay
ongoing support for the child, retroactive support, and a
portion of the child's medical expenses. The order stated
that it was a final order but did not include any direction
as to parenting time with the child.
on April 30, 2018, Father filed a petition in juvenile court
for joint custody and visitation of the child. Father sought
alternating week parenting time. The trial court ordered a
temporary visitation schedule after a hearing in June
hearing was held in August 2018 before a special
judge. According to a statement of the evidence
filed by Father, Father presented evidence of Mother's
unsatisfactory living conditions, while Mother was unable to
provide a rationale for limiting Father's parenting time
with the child. Father also testified that his work
schedule, relationship with the child, and home environment
supported equal time with the child. According to the
statement of the evidence, at the conclusion of the hearing,
the trial court declined to provide an oral ruling as to the
best interest factors supporting its decision.
September 4, 2018, the trial court entered a written order
granting Father parenting time on the first, third, and fifth
weekends of the month, as well as some holiday visitation.
The order lists all fifteen factors under consideration in
Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-6-106(a) and provides a
place for the trial court to check whether each factor favors
one parent or the other, in the following manner:
[ ] both equally; [√] mother over father; [ ] father
over mother; [ ] That the parties failed to present proof
regarding this, or these, factors.
the trial court's final best interest finding is made in
a similar manner:
16. That from the proof the Court finds that it
appears to be in the best interest of said child to be placed
in the [ ] custody of the father [ ] custody of the mother [
] foint custody of the mother and father, with the [ ] father
[ ] 'mother being the primary residential parent.
this order, Father appeals.
raises three issues, which are taken, and slightly restated,
from his brief:
1. Did the trial court properly apply Tennessee Code
Annotated section 36-6-106 to its ruling.
2. Did the trial court err in its creation of the
parties' parenting schedule.
3. Does the trial court's ruling support the public
policy of Tennessee.
has chosen not to participate in this appeal and did not ...