KIMBERLY LOU USELTON ET VIR, TERRY TWAYNE USELTON v. JESSICA WALTON AND CLINTON BRANDON WOODARD - Articles

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Posted by: Brittany Sims on Jun 24, 2013

Head Comment: With Dissenting Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Irene R. Haude, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Respondent/Appellant, Jessica Warren (Walton).

Attorneys 2:

Shannon L. Crutcher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the Petitioner/Appellees, Kimberly Lou Uselton et vir, Terry Twayne Uselton.

David D. Wolfe, Dickson, Tennessee, for the Respondent/Appellee, Clinton Brandon Woodard.

Judge(s): KIRBY

This is a grandparent visitation case. The biological parents of the child at issue were never married. When the child was born, the father was in the military and away most of the time. The mother permitted the father’s parents, the petitioners in this case, to have liberal visitation with the child. As time went on, the mother got married and had children with her new husband. When the subject child was five years old, the mother limited the grandparents’ visitation with the child, but she did not end it. Dissatisfied with the limitations, the grandparents filed this petition for court-ordered visitation pursuant to the Grandparent Visitation Statute, Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-306. The trial court granted the petition and ordered a visitation schedule that essentially allowed the grandparents to have the father’s visitation rights when he was away. The court-ordered schedule even provided for visitation for the grandparents in the event the father chose to exercise all of the visitation to which he was entitled. The mother now appeals. We hold that the trial court erred in essentially placing the paternal grandparents in the stead of the father, and that the Grandparent Visitation Statute is not applicable because there was no proof that the mother opposed the grandparents’ visitation before the grandparents filed their petition for court-ordered grandparent visitation. Therefore, we reverse and dismiss the petition with prejudice.