Some parents are unable to reach an out-of-court child custody agreement during a divorce to submit to the court. When these situations turn into prolonged courtroom litigation, a Tennessee child custody attorney can work to protect the interests of their clients in court. A November 22, 2017 post-divorce case before the Court of Appeals illustrates the complexity of child custody disputes.
The parents in the case divorced in 2007 with two children. The trial court had entered a permanent parenting plan designating the mother as the primary residential parent of the older son and the father as the primary residential parent of the younger son. In 2010, the parties sought a modification of their parenting arrangement, and the trial court allowed a divorce referee to hear the matter. In 2012, the referee filed a recommendation that the mother should be designated as the primary residential parent for both of the children, which was adopted by the trial court. The appeals court subsequently vacated and remanded the matter for the trial court to conduct the proceedings.
During those proceedings, the parties both sought to be the younger child’s primary residential parent, since the older child had reached the age of majority. At the hearing, the father repeatedly requested that the child, who was 13 at the time, be allowed to express his preference to the court regarding where he wanted to live. The trial court refused the request and ultimately designated the mother as the child’s primary residential parent. The father filed another appeal.