Family Law Visitation Appeal Case
Memphis Germantown Family Law Lawyer
Authoring Judge: Judge W. Neal McBrayer
Trial Court Judge: Judge James G. Martin, III
Kathryn A. Duke v. Harold W. Duke, III
This case involves the modification of a parenting plan. The trial court reduced Father’s time with the parties’ children to four hours of supervised time every other weekend. The trial court so limited the Father’s parenting time as a result of his intentional interference with the children’s relationship with Mother. Father appeals the trial court’s modification of the parenting schedule. In addition, he claims the trial court erred by: (1) limiting Father’s communication with the children; (2) refusing Father’s request to retain an expert to rebut testimony by an expert Mother and Father initially agreed would provide a recommendation about parenting time; (3) excluding certain portions of his treating physician’s testimony; (4) requiring the children to continue counseling sessions with a psychologist; (5) terminating Father’s participation in educational decisions for the children; (6) instituting a permanent injunction against Father; (7) finding Father guilty of six counts of criminal contempt; (8) finding Father in civil contempt; (9) denying Father’s requests to reopen the proof to present newly discovered evidence; and (10) awarding Mother $678,933.05 in attorneys’ fees and discretionary costs. We reverse the judgment of the trial court finding Father in civil contempt. We affirm the judgment in all other respects.
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Parenting Plan Modification
Background: Modification of Permanent Parenting Plan CasesModification of a Permanent Parenting Plan (PPP) is usually a far more complicated case than the initial custody determination. A PPP can be modified by agreement of both parents. If the other parent will not agree to modify the residential schedule, the court can modify the PPP if there has been a material change of circumstances and the modification is in the best interest of the minor children. Before the court will modify an existing PPP, Tennessee law requires that you and the other parent go to mediation. If the court finds that there has been a material change of circumstance and that the change directly affects the best interests of the minor child, the court is required to modify the PPP in such a way as to maximize the best interest of the minor children.
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