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Harrell v. Harrell Divorce Appeal
Tennessee Court Decision.

Authoring Judge: Chief Judge D. Michael Swiney
Trial Court Judge: Judge John Thomas Gwin

After approximately one year of marriage, Mother and Father were divorced in December 2010. The final decree of divorce incorporated an agreed parenting plan whereby the parties would exercise equal parenting time of the parties‘ two minor sons, born in 2003 and 2007 respectively. Mother is the biological parent of the children. Father is the adoptive father of the children. Following the parties‘ 2010 divorce, problems arose between the parties as to the permanent parenting plan, and litigation ensued. In March 2013, in response to a motion filed by Mother, the Trial Court declined to find a material change in circumstances and enter a new parenting plan. The current appeal has its roots in Father‘s September 2013 petition to modify the permanent parenting plan. Father sought to be designated primary residential parent based, in part, upon Mother‘s alleged drug use and instability. This matter was tried over the course of two days in March and May of 2014

Randall Charles Harrell (“Father”) filed a petition against his ex-wife Chassity Necole Harrell (“Mother”) in the General Sessions Court for Wilson County (“the Trial Court”) to modify the permanent parenting plan concerning the parties’ two minor children. Father sought to be designated primary residential parent based, in part, upon Mother’s alleged drug abuse and instability. After a hearing, the Trial Court found a material change in circumstances, designated Father the primary residential parent, and entered a new parenting plan accordingly. Mother appeals to this Court, arguing, among other things, that the Trial Court erred in finding a material change of circumstances and in considering the unsworn testimony of the children. Finding no reversible error, we affirm the judgment of the Trial Court in its entirety.

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