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Eldridge v. Eldridge

Supreme Court of Tennessee
42 S.W.3d 82 (Tenn. 2001)


Facts

Anthony Eldridge (defendant) and Julia Eldridge (plaintiff) were divorced and had joint custody of their two children. Julia lived with her female sexual partner, Lisa. Julia filed a motion to establish a visitation schedule with respect to the children. Anthony filed a motion for sole custody of the children. The trial court granted Anthony’s motion for sole custody and awarded Julia unrestricted, overnight visitation rights. Julia then filed a motion to have her overnight visitation expanded. At trial, there was conflicting testimony over the children’s comfort level with Lisa in Julia’s home overnight. A counselor appointed as special master found that the children wanted to please each of their parents. The counselor also found that the overnight visits with Lisa present had no harmful effect on the children. The counselor testified that the best scenario would be to have only Julia present for the overnight visits, but that that was likely not practical. The trial court granted Julia’s motion to expand her unrestricted overnight visitation rights. Anthony appealed, arguing that Lisa should not be present during any overnight visits. The court of appeals reversed, prohibiting Lisa from being present during any overnight visits. Julia appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Holder, J.)

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