When appealing a decision made by the court to award child custody after a divorce, you may be wondering whether to file your motion with the juvenile court or with the Tennessee Circuit Court. While the law states that the juvenile court has exclusive original jurisdiction in child custody matters, it is actually more complex than it would first seem. This is because post-divorce petitions can be made to the Circuit Court.

In a recent appeal made to the Tennessee Circuit Court, one parent who had her custody rights taken away on the grounds of neglect of an unruly child claimed that the Circuit Court, which granted custody to the other parents, did not have jurisdiction over the matter, and that the case should be dismissed. Originally, she had been granted custody by the juvenile court.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ended up reversing her appeal, and as a result of this, a new law was enacted that maintains that the Circuit Court has subject matter jurisdiction over post-divorce petitions. This is an important development because it means that the Circuit Court can potentially overrule a decision made in the juvenile court.

If you are making an appeal against a decision made by the Circuit Court regarding custody of your child, it is still possible to use the decision made by the juvenile court. The important new development here is that you must now invoke the juvenile court’s exclusive original jurisdiction over the matter.

This information is meant to inform you of the court’s legal process, and should not be taken as legal advice.