If you are initiating a divorce action, it is important to file your petition in a court with jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter. In an April 5, 2018 case, the Court of Appeals addressed the issues surrounding jurisdiction over the parties’ Tennessee child custody arrangement. The parties in the case had resided in Scotland, California, and Tennessee during their five-year marriage and had a child together.
After the parties married in California, the wife lived there with her parents while the husband was deployed. The couple later moved to Tennessee with their son so that the husband could finish school, and finally, they moved to Scotland, where the father held a temporary student visa. The wife initiated a child custody proceeding while in Scotland. The husband then filed a Tennessee divorce action in the chancery court, which adjudicated the divorce. The court named the husband as the primary residential parent and established a parenting schedule.
On appeal, the wife argued that the Tennessee court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the divorce and child custody matters because the parties were not domiciled in Tennessee. The appeals court first resolved the question of whether one or both parties was a resident or domiciliary of Tennessee, in order for the court to have jurisdiction over the divorce.