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Patrick L. Looper Patrick L. Looper
  • Serving All of Tennessee

In Determining Custody, Parent-Child Attachment Counts for More Than Financial Stability


Do you think you can persuade the court to give you custody of your children because your ex works two minimum wage jobs, having her relatives babysit when her workdays extend past the daycare center’s closing time, meanwhile you own your own business and set your own hours?  Think again.  The court will not change its decision even if you add that your ex’s house has a sink piled high with dirty dishes and bedrooms full of clutter, while your stay-at-home wife keeps every room of your house looking Instagram-worthy.  Having more money does not automatically make you a better parent.  In order to get the court to award custody to you, taking it away from your ex, you must do more than show that your ex does not have superhuman abilities to manage work responsibilities and home responsibilities without so much as breaking a sweat.  You must prove that your ex’s home is a genuinely unsafe environment for the children, where they are exposed to violence, abuse, or illegal activities.  If you want to make major changes to your parenting plan, you need a Tennessee child custody lawyer.

Details of the Brewster v. Galloway Case

Amber Brewster and Nicholas Galloway first communicated on a dating website, when Amber was 17 and Nicholas was 25.  They went on one date, during which Amber got pregnant; their daughter was born in December 2005.  When the child was born, Amber emailed Nicholas to notify him of the child’s existence; she also said that she was planning to marry her boyfriend Christopher, who would adopt the child.  Nicholas took a paternity test; pursuant to Tennessee law, he, as the biological father, needed to give his consent before someone else could legally adopt the child, and in fact he consented.  Meanwhile, Nicholas married his wife Kellie, who had a son from her first marriage; they lived on a piece of land that Nicholas’ family owned, and he worked at the family’s plant nursery business.  In January 2009, Amber asked Nicholas to give her money to help her finalize the adoption, and he agreed.  The adoption never happened; Amber and Nicholas had a child together, but later divorced, and Amber had a third child with a third man.

In late 2009, Nicholas and Kellie began having regular visits with the child.  They expressed concern over the child’s poor hygiene and resulting health problems, such as recurrent urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections.  They took her to a doctor for treatment and also photographed her genital area as evidence of alleged neglect; Amber was enraged when she found out about the photographs.  They sought custody of her, citing the aforementioned health issues, as well as Christopher’s drug use, which was the main cause of the divorce, and the fact that the child used foul language, which she had heard from her mother.  The child’s preschool teacher and daycare provider testified that nothing about the child’s behavior and hygiene raised their concern or seemed abnormal.  The court ruled that Amber should remain the primary residential parent, since she had raised the child without Nicholas’ involvement for the first four years.  It awarded 80 days of parenting time per year to Nicholas.

Let Us Help You Today

If your ex is trying to take parenting time away from you just because you aren’t perfect, a child custody lawyer can help.  Contact Knoxville child custody lawyer Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.

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