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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Apr 17, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Jonathan Jackson Pledger, Franklin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Leonidas J. Jernigan.

Attorneys 2:

Shawn J. McBrien, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephanie S. Jernigan.

Judge(s): COTTRELL

The trial court granted a divorce to the mother of two children, named her as their primary residential parent, and awarded the father temporary visitation with the children. The father subsequently entered into an agreed order that suspended his visitation, with a provision that visitation was to resume only upon the recommendation of the children’s counselor. The mother eventually filed a motion to terminate the father’s visitation, while the father filed a petition for contempt against the mother and also sought to have his visitation restored. The court appointed a guardian ad litem, who recommended against resuming visitation between the father and his children. By that time, the father had not seen his children for over four years. The court dismissed the father’s petition without an evidentiary hearing. We vacate the trial court’s order and remand this case for a prompt evidentiary hearing on the father’s petition.