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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 19, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Patrick Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Terresa V. B.

Attorneys 2:

Kevin D. C., Jackson, Tennessee, appellee, Pro Se.

Judge(s): COTTRELL

The Juvenile Court Referee named Mother as the child’s primary residential parent and awarded visitation rights to Father. Mother requested a rehearing of the Referee’s decision before the Juvenile Court Judge, alleging that “visitation was unfairly decided.” Prior to the rehearing, the parties filed numerous petitions and motions related to visitation and custody, including requests for orders of protection and petitions for contempt. After a ten-day hearing, the Juvenile Court found that it was in the best interest of the child that Father be named her primary residential parent. Mother argues on appeal that the Juvenile Court should have applied the “material change of circumstances” standard to the evidence before it, and that, in any case, naming Father the primary residential parent was not in the child’s best interest. We find, however, that the court was correct to decide the question of custody solely on the basis of the best interest of the child since this was not a modification action. Because the Mother has attempted to prevent Father from having any relationship whatsoever with his child, we also affirm the trial court’s judgment naming Father as the primary residential parent.