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Can I sue the state of Tennessee for violating my and my children's Constitutional 14th amendment rights in family court? How?

Nashville, TN |

I recently went through a hearing regarding relocation of the ex-wife to a different state. During the process and especially at hearing, in closing statement, my representation demanded that my and my children's federal Constitutional right to equal protection under the law be honored and awarded. My children and I lost the hearing. 36-6-108 is practically not winnable if a parent has unequal time with children, which again is a result of TN violating the Constitutional rights of citizens, especially Fathers. Can I sue TN in federal court (or where?) for violating my and my children's Constitutional rights? TN needs to pay damages for blatantly violating my and my children's federal right to equal protection under the law.

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Attorney answers 3


You could, in theory, file an appeal, in state court, alleging a Constitutional violation, or, in theory, file a new separate case in Federal court. THe chance of success in either one is tiny. Just because your attorney ARGUED that your constitutional rights were violated doesn't mean that any judge in state or Federal court is likely to agree with him; one judge has already disagreed with him.


Of course you can sue. Anyone can sue for anything.

What you really want to know is do you have chance of winning.

No way we can tell, since you posted no facts or circumstances to assess. Nothing you posted gives rise to any violation of equal protection—you made the declaration that your rights were violated, but you have to be able to state exactly what occurred and why it was a violation.
Losing a hearing in family court--which at bottom is the basis of your claim--is hardly grounds for an equal protection claim.
Not sure I recall any particular Constitutional rights that fathers have over and above mothers, and it appears that one judge already decided your lawyer's argument didn't hold water--that doesn't mean the decision was correct--but it does give an indication of how things might proceed downstream.

Since you already have a lawyer, why don't you ask him/her about next steps regarding a federal claim?

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


I do not see anything in your post that would permit or be a basis for suing the state of TN. You disagree with and are upset with the judge. The judge is immune from suit in this circumstance. Your avenue to redress your claim is an appeal, timely filed.

The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.



Thank you for your response. I am not upset with the judge. The judge was acting within the confines of the statute. If at the end of the hearing, I as a Father do not receive the same number of days with my children (equal time with children), then this TN statute is in violation of the 14th Amendment which clearly states that States are to provide equal protection under the law for citizens. This statute is unconstitutional, as the end result is not "equal protection" , but very "unequal" protection. I would like to know if I can sue the state of TN for damages for clearly violating the 14th Amendment. TN was put on notice during process, before hearing, and during hearing in closing statement.