DEBBIE SIKORA EX REL. SHELLEY MOOK v. TYLER MOOK ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Nov 7, 2012

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

David L. Raybin and Sarah Richter Perky, Nashville, Tennessee; and Eric John Burch, Manchester, Tennessee, for the appellants, Tyler Mook, Jim Mook, and Kim Mook.

Attorneys 2:

Donald Capparella, Nashville, Tennessee, and Ray Fraley, Fayetteville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Debra Sikora on behalf of Shelley Mook.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

This is a custody action in which the father and paternal grandparents appeal the trial court’s designation of the maternal grandmother as the primary residential parent of the father’s seven-year-old daughter following the disappearance of the mother of the child, who was the primary residential parent. The trial court found that the father was unfit to parent the child and that he posed a substantial risk of harm to the child due to his history of domestic violence and the danger from exposure to the father’s drug activities and father’s associates. On appeal, the father and the paternal grandparents raise numerous issues relating to the trial court’s decision. They argue, inter alia, that the trial court erred in considering evidence of the father’s conduct that occurred prior to the entry of the Final Divorce Decree, that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to overcome the father’s superior parental rights, that the decision to award custody to the maternal grandmother was not in the best interest of the child, that the trial court erred in awarding custody to the maternal grandmother, and that the trial court erred in allowing the maternal grandmother to relocate to Pennsylvania. We have concluded that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s factual findings and that the evidence clearly and convincingly established that designation of the father as the primary residential parent would expose the child to the risk of substantial harm. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court’s designation of the maternal grandmother as the primary residential parent of the father’s seven-year-old child.

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