Tennessee case abstract on service of course of.
The events on this Williamson County, Tennessee, case had been divorced in 2005. The mom was named the first residential mother or father, with the daddy being allowed visitation. In 2015, the daddy went again to court docket to implement the parenting plan. The events had been capable of comply with a modification, however the father alleged that the mom was misconstruing and violating the brand new agreed order. The daddy requested to have the mom held in contempt, the order put aside, and the kid assist be recalculated.
The mom made a restricted look and moved to dismiss. She alleged that she had not been served with the petition. The trial court docket agreed, and the daddy tried once more. The mom once more objected based mostly on lack of service.
The daddy employed an legal professional and made a 3rd try. He alleged lower in earnings and requested for a change of kid assist. The mom filed a counter-petition alleging that the daddy voluntarily stop his job.
Extra motions had been filed, together with the withdrawal of two attorneys for the daddy. The final one indicated that the daddy was continuing professional se, and listed an e-mail handle. It failed, nonetheless, to listing any bodily handle.
The daddy by no means answered one of many mom’s petitions, and she or he requested for a default judgment. She indicated that she had mailed the paperwork and despatched them to a different e-mail handle. The trial court docket granted the default judgment.
The daddy moved to put aside the default. He acknowledged that he had notified the mom of his new handle in Missouri.
The daddy conceded that he had by no means formally up to date his mailing handle with the court docket information. The trial court docket, Decide James G. Martin, III, denied the movement and let the default judgment stand. The daddy then appealed to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals, which determined the case in an opinion penned by Decide J. Steven Stafford.
The appeals court docket first needed to decide what grounds for reduction the daddy was asserting. Though his argument modified barely on enchantment, he had argued that the judgment was principally procured by fraud, as a result of the mom despatched the papers to the flawed handle.
The appeals court docket famous that it’s incumbent upon professional se litigants to maintain their handle updated with the court docket. It held that with out this rule, it will be unattainable for the court docket to maintain in touch with litigants, and the daddy had failed to satisfy this obligation.
The daddy argued that he wasn’t conscious of any persevering with litigation, however the appeals court docket rejected this argument.
After reviewing the proof, the appeals court docket affirmed. It additionally awarded the mom her legal professional’s charges on enchantment and remanded the case for a willpower of the quantity.
No. M2019-00978-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 27, 2020).
See authentic opinion for actual language. Authorized citations omitted.
To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.