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Is there a way ask for a judge to reconsider or look again at best interests of child in a custody case?

Marietta, GA |

Is there someone who can represent best interests of a child in a recently decided case?My sister has been stay at home mom for kids ages 6 and 9. Father asked for full custody. After 2 1/2 years case went to court. Judge split case into 2- custody heard last month & financials heard this month. Judge awarded joint custody- with Dad ( a FT physician and deep pockets) having physical custody 70% and mom 30%- a complete reversal of how it had been during kids life and 2 1/2 yr. separation Judge said father was ready, willing & capable- that Mom made a "good play date for kids." Father hired nanny to care for kids vs. mom who has always been one to take care of school. MD visits, social etc. Kids are distraught- calling mom, crying . What can be done? How can kids voices be heard?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

You've described it as "recently decided", and everything you talked about above indicates things SHOULD HAVE been done at the trial level, so an appeal is unlikely to *alter* the outcome. Instead, the things you are arguing about were matters that depended on the "best" presentation of that evidence. At the trial level, of course, a Guardian Ad Litem is a really appropriate figure to have present, and the party can move for one when it is as contentious and nasty as you make it sound, such that the children will likely be nothing but tools for the parties (though GALs are generally thought of by parties as "pricy", I have always found them to be worth it to pay for, because they often even out the balance of cost).

If the divorce and CC decisions happened within the past month, these things could still be taken care of and it might not be too late - a motion to set aside, or a motion for new trial, might address your concerns. Get an attorney for her ASAP (and not just "any" attorney - please remember that you get what you pay for, but there are a great many shysters out there) who handles both family law and appeals. Do this NOW. My website may have info to help you with the GAL issue, so you understand a little more about it. No matter what, beg and borrow for the money to get this done, and hopefully it isn't too little, too late, if you are truly concerned about it.

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Posted

Appeals on a child custody case is diffucult. Most Judges and/or attorneys write bullet proof orders. Having said that your sister needs to have a local family law attorny review her case. This may be a situation where your sister may not be telling you the whole story. I find it diffucult to believe that your sister being a stay at home mom "looses" custody of the children. You said that the Husband hired a nanny, if this was done early in the children's life, when mom is to be a stay at home mom, this may have GREATLY impacted the decision of the Guardian and Judges decision. Bottom line, your sister needs to have an attorney review her file.

Posted

First of all, what is your trial attorney telling you about what just happened. An appellate attorney can only do so much with this. Most custody cases are won or lost in the trial court. If your trial attorney thinks that the Judge made legal errors, then you should contact an appellate attorney to discuss whether an appeal can help you. However, it must be filed within 30 days of the Final Order on custody. Since your post did not mention marriage or divorce, I assume that this is a custody case, not part of a divorce. If that is so, then you have a direct appeal (not discretionary) to the Georgia Court of Appeals. If it is a divorce, you have even less time, because the appellate attorney must prepare and file an application for discretionary appeal prior to the 30 day deadline.

I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.

Posted

Appeals rarely succeed in domestic cases, but you have a strict time limit. Both an appeal and a motion for new trial MUST be filed within 30 days of the date of the order. You will need to show a legal error, not a disagreement over facts. Discuss this with your lawyer and don't miss the deadline, after which it is too late.

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