September 30, 2023

Psychologists’ skilled witness testimony and parental alienation claims in a Tennessee custody case.

Maupin v. Maupin

The mom and father on this case had been married in 1993 and had three kids, born in 1998, 1999, and 2002.  The mom labored at a hospital, and likewise offered jewellery.  On the time of the wedding, the daddy labored at Lowe’s, however shortly after they married, the daddy stop his job.  The mom claimed that this was in opposition to her needs.  He focused on farming, however hardly ever confirmed a revenue.  Beginning in 1998, he labored part-time as a mail provider.

In 2007, the mom started an extramarital affair, and the daddy realized of it a number of months later.  The mom claimed to finish the affair to avoid wasting the wedding, and the daddy gave up farming to spend extra time along with her.  Nevertheless, the mom continued the affair and the daddy turned conscious of it.  The mom filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  The events continued to reside collectively within the marital residence for a number of months.

Two skilled witnesses testified by deposition.  The primary was Charlton S. Stanley, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., a forensic psychologist who did a psychological analysis of the mom.  He met with the mom, and likewise listened to numerous recorded phone conversations between numerous members of the family.

Many of those recordings had been performed into the court docket document, “till the trial court docket bored with father’s profanities.”  At the moment, transcripts of the recordings, with profanities redacted, had been submitted as displays.

Dr. Stanley testified that he was “appalled by the disrespect” proven to the mom by the youngest son.  Regardless of the kid’s age, Dr. Stanley recognized the son to be the dominant baby and “Alpha Male” of the household.  He famous that the son gave the impression to be extraordinarily aggressive and stuffed with anger, and made accusations in opposition to his mom.  Though the daddy may very well be heard within the background of those recordings, he did nothing to intervene.

Dr. Stanley additionally concluded that the mom was “situationally depressed,” though she had no diagnosable dysfunction as outlined by DSM-IV.  He concluded that the daddy had “pursued a course of parental alienation” between the mom and their sons.”

The opposite skilled witness performed an analysis on the request of the guardian advert litem.  That skilled was Wayne Tasker, Psy.D. LPC, LCSW, BCPC, who met individually with each the dad and mom and the youngsters.  Dr. Tasker concluded that the youngsters would profit from a parenting schedule which included high quality time with each dad and mom.  His final suggestion was that “they do have contact, that the boys have contact with their mother, that the daughter has contact with the dad, and that principally the youngsters have contact with one another. , the 2 boys and the woman.”

The trial court docket named the mom as the first residential dad or mum of the daughter, and the daddy was named main residential dad or mum of the sons.  Every was assigned 247 parenting days in that position.   Nevertheless, the residential schedules had been designed to facilitate the youngsters’s shared time collectively.

After trial, the mom made a movement for contempt, arguing that the daddy was discouraging the boys from visiting the mom.  Nevertheless, the trial court docket held that the daddy had certainly inspired them, however they refused to go together with their mom.

The mom introduced an attraction to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals and raised numerous points, together with the parenting preparations.  Specifically, she argued that it was error to call the daddy main residential dad or mum of the boys, since allegedly “it was father who poisoned the boys in opposition to her.”  The daddy contended, nevertheless, that the mom introduced it on herself by advantage of getting an affair.

The appeals court docket quoted among the recorded phone conversations, and agreed that among the father’s feedback amounted to “venom.” Based mostly upon the boys’ testimony in chambers, it famous that that they had clearly adopted the daddy’s views.

However the appeals court docket concluded, quoting an earlier case, that “separating siblings is a drastic treatment” to be carried out solely in extraordinary instances.  For these causes, it affirmed the parenting plan adopted by the trial court docket.  It did, nevertheless, remand the case to carry a listening to as regards to household counseling.  It requested the decrease court docket to nominate acceptable therapists, with the aim of accomplishing a wholesome household relationship.

The appeals court docket additionally modified a portion of the judgment relating to the mortgage on the marital residence, earlier than remanded the case for household counseling.

420 S.W.3d 761 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013).

See authentic opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Youngster Custody Legal guidelines in Tennessee and our video, How is baby custody decided 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 baby help worksheets from actual instances accessible on