IN RE JONATHAN S. C-B. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 30, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Paul Bruno, Nashville, Tennessee, Luke Evans and Heather Graves Parker, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellant, Ok Y.C.

Attorneys 2:

Jacqueline B. Dixon, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Stephen B.

Cynthia Chappell, Nashville, Tennessee, guardian ad litem for the minor, Jonathan S.C-B.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

This is the second appeal in an ongoing custody dispute. Mother was initially designated primary residential parent of the child. Later, Father filed a petition alleging Mother was interfering with his parenting time and trying to turn the child against him. Mother then alleged Father was abusing their child, which allegations were determined to be unfounded. During that litigation, Father successfully demonstrated a material change in circumstances and became the primary residential parent; following that award, Mother filed the first appeal and this court affirmed the trial court’s ruling. The present appeal arises from Father’s petition requesting a modification of the parenting plan and to, inter alia, suspend Mother’s parenting time; subsequently, Mother filed her counter-petition requesting, inter alia, change of custody, along with renewed allegations that Father was physically and sexually abusing their child. The trial court dismissed Mother’s counter-petition and granted in part and denied in part Father’s petition. Mother appeals contending the trial court erred in dismissing her counter-petition; she also contends the trial court erred in excluding rebuttal testimony from her expert witnesses. Father appeals contending the award of attorney’s fees and expenses was inadequate; he also contends this appeal is frivolous and that he should be awarded damages. We affirm the trial court in all aspects and, although we do not find Mother’s appeal frivolous, we find Father is entitled to recover, pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-5-103(c), his reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees and expenses incurred on appeal because this action involves custody of the parties’ child.