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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Mar 21, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

S. Jason Whatley, Columbia, Tennessee, for the appellant, Kelly Ann Jones.

Attorneys 2:

Timothy V. Potter, Dickson, Tennessee, for the appellee, Ronald David Jones.

Judge(s): MCBRAYER

This appeal arises from a long and turbulent custody dispute. Under the terms of the Permanent Parenting Plan, each parent was designated primary residential parent for one of the parties? two minor children. A few months after the divorce, the father filed an emergency petition to be named the primary residential parent of the younger child. After a hearing, the trial court dissolved the ex parte restraining order but awarded temporary custody of the child to the father. Five months later, the father filed a second emergency petition to suspend visitation with the mother. After a hearing, the trial court dissolved the second restraining order but left the temporary custody order in place. Two years after the father filed the original petition to modify custody, the court conducted a final hearing. The court found a material change in circumstance had occurred sufficient to justify a change in custody and the custody change was in the best interest of the child. Because the trial court did not make sufficient findings of fact concerning the issue of material change of circumstance, as required by Rule 52.01 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, and the credibility of witnesses is at issue, we are unable to conduct an effective appellate review. While normally we would remand this case to afford the trial court the opportunity to state its findings of fact, the judge who tried this case has retired. Therefore, we have no choice but to reverse the judgment and remand for a new hearing.