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Unwed Father Fails to Present Proof of Identify Change Advantages Youngster

The legislative coverage is to provide a baby the surname of the mom until a change would promote the kid’s pursuits.

Tennessee little one title change case abstract.

Michael Ashley Lockhart v. Casey Dawn Higgins

The kid on this Warren County, Tennessee, case was born to unwed mother and father in 2018, and the daddy filed a petition to ascertain paternity about two weeks later.  The petition included a request to vary the kid’s surname to his.

The mother and father have been in a position to resolve most points, however have been unable to agree as to the title, and a listening to was held in 2020 earlier than Decide Larry B. Stanley, who ordered the kid’s title modified to a hyphenated model of the 2 surnames.  The mom then appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

The appeals courtroom famous that the usual of assessment requires the decrease courtroom to particularly determine information upon which it primarily based its ruling, and that it had failed to take action.  Usually, there’s a presumption of correctness of the decrease courtroom’s findings, and the appellate courtroom can use these information to use the right authorized commonplace.  However in a case equivalent to this the place there have been no truth findings, that was unimaginable.  Nevertheless, remanding the case for truth findings wouldn’t be acceptable, and the appeals courtroom determined to proceed by conducting a de novo assessment of the file to find out the information.

The courtroom began by stating that the legislative coverage is to provide a baby the surname of the mom until a change would promote the kid’s pursuits.   The burden of proof is on the get together in search of the change.

On this case, the daddy had introduced no proof displaying {that a} change of title would profit the kid.  The one proof was the daddy’s assertion that he needed to teach the kid in numerous sports activities sometime.  The appeals courtroom held that such a common assertion of opinion or perception was inadequate.

The courtroom additionally pointed to proof that the daddy had been convicted of some crimes after the kid’s delivery.  Since one related issue is the diploma of neighborhood respect for the title, the courtroom held that this issue weighed in opposition to the change.

Given these information, the Courtroom of Appeals decided that the daddy had failed to satisfy his burden of proof.  Because of this, it reversed the trial courtroom’s ruling.

The opinion of the Courtroom of Appeals was authored by Decide Andy D. Bennett, and Judges D. Michael Swiney and W. Neal McBrayer joined.

No.M2020-01370-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 9,  2021).

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Child Custody Laws in Tennessee.

See additionally Tennessee Parenting Plans and Child Support Worksheets: Building a Constructive Future for Your Family that includes examples of parenting plans and little one help worksheets from actual circumstances obtainable on

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