13 May 2012

Tennessee Modification of Parenting Plan After Divorce Denied Mother

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Case summary on Tennessee child custody modification, a mother sought to modify the parenting plan post-divorce, custody, and parenting time in Tennessee divorce and family law from Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Jonathan Paul Gray v. Casey Renea Jeans

In the case of Casey Renea Jeans, the mother, and Jonathan Paul Gray, the father, who are the parents of two children, the mother appealed the decision by a lower court to maintain the current custodial agreement. The mother initially filed a request to alter the current Permanent Parenting Plan, or PPP of the two children. She also requested that the court allow her to relocate based on her desire to marry. The mother sought to become the primary residential parent. Previously, the parents shared custody of the children on a two-week on, two-week off basis.

The parents of the children were never married. In 2005, the father filed a petition with the Trial Court that would provide the father as the primary residential parent of the children and to approve the PPP. Neither parent pays child support. The mother filed the petition for the change to the PPP in 2010. In 2009, the court granted a protection to the son prohibiting the father from using physical discipline on the child. The mother alleged that the father hit the son with a belt.

The case was heard in February of 2011. At that time, the court heard testimony that the mother was forced by the father to engage in sex and that the father repeatedly swore in front of the children. He claims this is not true. The mother also alleges the father did not provide adequate medical care for the children, though during testimony the father stated he did do so and just wanted to be included in the doctor’s appointments when making significant decisions about the children.

The court ruled against the changes to the PPP and set forth some rules about the arrangement including that the father must show respect for the mother and that swearing in front of the children was not allowed. It also stated that since the children were doing well in their current school system, they should remain there. It dismissed the changes to the PPP.

In the appeal, the court determined whether there was evidence of a material change in the circumstances which would have justified the change of the PPP. It noted that if existing custody arrangements are favorable, they should be kept in that regard since children thrive in stable environments. It also noted that any modifications to these agreements must be done in the child’s best interests.

The appeal notes that the mother’s claims were not material enough to warrant any change to the PPP. It noted that many of the claims were hard to prove and not substantiated. Since the mother has stated she planned to marry four times and has not done so, the court decided not to use that as a reason for making changes to the plan.

As a result, the appeals court affirmed the decision of the lower court. It held the Trial Court did not err in denying the mother’s request to relocate or change the PPP for the family.

January 25, 2012, Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hamblen County, NO 05CV238, John K. Wilson, Judge

Memphis divorce lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA practices family law exclusively and is founder of the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, which handles family law matters including divorce, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, child custody, parental relocation, child support modification, and alimony modification.

 Disclaimer: See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.

Miles Mason


Memphis divorce and family lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr. is the founder of Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. For more information about our professional staff, see our Meet the Team page.


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