Hance v. Hance (Tennessee 2018)
The juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction over dependency and neglect proceedings including child support. If there is also an open action in chancery court, the jurisdiction of the chancery court is suspended. The mother and father in this case divorced in chancery court. A few months later, the father filed to modify the parenting plan. On the same day, the Department of Children’s Services filed a dependency and neglect petition in juvenile court. A few days later, the chancery court entered an order modifying the mother’s parenting time, child support, and the tax exemption provision. Several months later, the mother appealed this order arguing that the chancery court was without jurisdiction to enter the order. The appellate court agreed. It noted that subject matter jurisdiction can be raised at any time. It further found that Tennessee statute gives juvenile courts exclusive jurisdiction over dependency and neglect proceedings unless the case is dismissed, the custody determination is transferred to another court, a petition for adoption is filed, or the child reaches the age of eighteen.