OPEN PRACTICE AREAS
No one expects any parent to have a spotless home. However, a court in Davidson County modified child custody to make the father the new primary residential parent and to put restrictions on the mother’s visitation partly because of the condition of her home. The court ruled that it was an unfit environment to raise a child.

As with all child custody modification cases, the details are important. In this instance, the mother produced several witnesses who admitted that the home was messy, but that it did not interfere with the well being of the child. The court was inclined to agree with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer who visited the home and reported she did not believe that mother's house was an appropriate environment to raise a child. She explained that the home had three bedrooms but only the living room was actually used. The other rooms were "stuffed" with mother's belongings, and trash was scattered throughout the home. Additionally, at least one bedroom and the basement were completely inaccessible. According to the CASA volunteer, the living room contained one bed in which both mother and the child slept, and occasionally did school work. She testified that she recommended homemaker services to mother and offered to help mother get her home in order, but mother refused assistance. These problems were made worse by the fact that the mother home-schooled the child, and thus the majority of their time was spent in the living room of the home which contained one bed for shared use.

The court ruled that the mother would not have overnight visitation until the home was made fit for the child.

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Ryan K McFarland • attorneymcfarland@gmail.com1 (​931) 516-9009



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