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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on May 31, 2013

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Laura Jane Webb, Maryville, Tennessee, for the appellant, James Franklin Holley, III.

Attorneys 2:

Margaret Beebe Held, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Paula Jean Holley.

Judge(s): HOLLEY

The issue in this appeal is whether the circuit court that had granted the divorce lost subject matter jurisdiction to hear a later petition for change of custody. James Franklin Holley, III (“Father”) and Paula Jean Holley (“Mother”) were divorced in the Fourth Circuit Court for Knox County (“the Trial Court”). Mother was given primary custody of the parties’ two minor children (“the Children”), with Father having co-parenting time. Later, Father filed a petition (“the Petition”) to change custody based on Mother’s alleged neglect of the Children’s psychological and educational issues. The Trial Court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the Petition as juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction to hear petitions alleging dependency and neglect. Father appeals. We hold that the Petition did not allege under the relevant statutes that the Children were dependent and neglected and, therefore, the Trial Court did have jurisdiction to hear the Petition. We reverse the judgment of the Trial Court.