Child Custody Appeal Lawyer

A court must consider a myriad of factors when determining what custodial arrangement protects the best interests of the child. Issues such as whether a party’s ability to care for the child is hindered by substance abuse, the adequacy of a party’s living conditions, the tendency of a party to disparage the other party within earshot of the child, and other factors are supposed to be considered by the court when determining the best interests of the child. The failure of a judge to consider such crucial facts warrants appellate review.

AppellateLegal is familiar with every aspect of a child custody appeal. If the court was clearly erroneous in its fact finding, or abused its discretion in determining an appropriate child custody and visitation arrangement, then you should file an appeal. We can also help to protect your rights if you are content with the judge’s ruling, but the other side has filed an appeal. Contact us today at 410.356.8859.

Child Custody Appeal

An illustrative case is Dominguez v. Johnson, 323 Md. 486 (1991). In that case, the mother, who had primary physical custody, moved with the child from Maryland to Arizona. Initially, in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, a master – a magistrate with less authority than a judge – found that the move justified awarding primary custody to the father. The mother filed exceptions in the lower court, which then brought the issue before a judge. However, the judge merely found that the master’s findings were not clearly erroneous, and, on that ground alone, upheld the transfer of custody to the father.

The mother then filed an appeal, and prevailed in the intermediate appellate court. Afterwards, the father filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with Maryland’s highest appellate court – the Court of Appeals. The Court granted the petition and reviewed the matter. Ultimately, Maryland’s highest court sided with the mother. The Court held that the circuit court misapplied the law, because it did not exercise its independent judgment. In other words, regardless of whether the master’s findings were reasonable, the actual judge was still required to make an independent decision.

The Court also offered some important guidelines for deciding child custody appeals. Specifically, the Court made it clear that, when determining to whom to award primary physical custody, a court should strongly consider which parent has typically acted as the primary caregiver: “Continued custody in the mother, the primary caretaker in fact, certainly offers an important form of stability in the children’s lives.” But, the Court also made it clear that a father should not be deterred from being a part of his child’s life: “Although the father did not have equal physical custody, he did have, and regularly exercised, extensive rights of visitation.” In sum, an award of child custody is highly fact-intensive, and appealing any such decision – or defending such a decision on appeal – requires the utmost competence of an experienced appellate attorney.

Supervised Visitation Appeal

Although a parent’s hostility to the opposing parent may justify the court in awarding less visitation to the hostile parent, it does not, without more, justify imposing a supervision requirement. In Roski v. Roski, 730 So.2d 413 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999), there was evidence, supported by the court appointed guardian ad litem, that the father was openly hostile toward the mother. As a result, the lower court required any visitation with the children to be supervised. The appellate court reversed the requirement, holding, “Although conduct toward the Mother was found to be unacceptable during this time, there was no evidence that would require supervision during his visitation with the children.”

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AppellateLegal regularly handles child custody appeals. After meeting with you and reviewing your case, we will be able to determine if there are good grounds for a child custody appeal. We offer competitive flat rates, rather than unpredictable hourly billing. And there are no hidden fees. After our consultation, you will know the total fee for representation in your appeal, as well our strategy to win your case. There are strict deadlines imposed by the court system for appeals. Accordingly, it is imperative that you act promptly to make sure you do not lose your rights. Fill out the contact form on this page or call us today at 410.356.8859.