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Posted by: Landry Butler on Mar 7, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Lara E. Butler and Elizabeth W. Fyke, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Candy Rachelle Munn Allen.

Attorneys 2:

Kay Farese Turner, Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark Antonio Allen.

Judge(s): GIBSON

This appeal arises from the post-divorce restriction of an alternate residential parent’s parenting time. The parties divorced in 2010. By agreement, the father was designated primary residential parent of the parties’ two minor children. The original parenting plan gave the mother 160 days of unsupervised visitation per year, including time in the summers and on holidays. In 2014, the father filed a petition requesting that the trial court restrict mother’s parenting time to supervised visitation only. Father’s lawyer then approached the trial court ex parte with an affidavit of the daughter’s psychologist and requested emergency relief restricting the mother’s visitation. The trial judge signed a temporary injunction requiring the mother’s parenting time to be supervised. When the mother attempted to set aside this injunction, the trial court ordered the mother to undergo a Rule 35 evaluation. After performing his examination of the mother, the independent Rule 35 evaluator testified that the mother was capable of caring for her children without supervision. Nevertheless, the trial court entered a final order and permanent parenting plan that substantially decreased the mother’s parenting time and required it to be supervised indefinitely. The trial court also awarded the father $15,000.00 in attorney’s fees. Following a thorough review of the record, we vacate the order of the trial court restricting the mother’s parenting time, reverse the trial court’s order awarding the father attorney’s fees, remand the case to the trial court, and necessarily reinstate the parties’ original parenting plan.