All Content

Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 16, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Diane C. Hanson, Lavergne, Tennessee, Pro se.

Attorneys 2:

Kirk D. Catron, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for the appellee, Gary D. Meadows.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

The mother of two minor children filed a petition on May 5, 2014, in the Chancery Court of Rutherford County seeking an order of protection against the children’s father for her benefit and for the benefit of their two minor children. When the petition was filed, the parties were operating under a parenting plan from Wisconsin state courts, and the Chancery Court of Rutherford County exercised only temporary emergency jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 36-6-201 to -243. The chancery court granted the petition pending an evidentiary hearing. Unfortunately, the matter stalled for eleven months due to pending criminal charges against the father arising out of the same incident. Following the evidentiary hearing in April 2015, the trial court extended the order of protection as to the mother but dismissed the petition as to the children on the finding the children were not in any danger. Mother appealed. At oral argument, both parties informed the court that custody modification proceedings were ongoing in Tennessee and that the parenting plan had been temporarily modified pending discovery and a full hearing. The only issues on appeal pertain to the welfare of the parties’ two minor children. The chancery court now has jurisdiction over the order of protection, which was filed two years ago, and exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the parenting plan; therefore, the chancery court is responsible for ruling on all current issues concerning the welfare of the children. For these reasons, we conclude the limited issues on appeal are moot because we are unable to provide meaningful relief. Our ruling on the order of protection could conflict with recent rulings by the chancery court that are based on current events, as distinguished from the singular incident on appeal that is now two years old. Therefore, the appeal is dismissed.