Can I Appeal a Child Custody Ruling?
Courts and judges strive to do their very best to rule in the child’s best interest. Occasionally, however, they make mistakes. As a parent, you’re entitled to appeal a child custody ruling if you don’t agree with the order the judge passed. But there are specific rules about under which circumstances a custody ruling can be appealed.
When Can You Appeal a Child Custody Ruling?
Broadly speaking, you can’t simply appeal a judge’s ruling because you don’t like the result. The judge must have committed a mistake, such as the ones below that can be considered as a ground or reason for the appeal:
Errors About Facts of The Case
Since the judge can directly observe and evaluate the evidence through all the presented documents, photos, videos, and witness statements, among others, most appellate courts will trust the judge’s findings and will rarely second-guess them. This is why factual error on the judge’s part is extremely challenging to establish.
Courts will only overturn the judge’s factual finding when it’s clearly wrong, and there’s evidence proving that the judge was definitely wrong.
Errors of Law
Generally, this means that the judge applied an incorrect or wrong legal standard or law when they made the ruling in your custody case. An error of law can occur if the court failed to follow either the case law or statute in your state that’s supposed to be applied to your case. For instance, judges must always determine what’s in the best interest of children when determining custody orders.
One standard factor that judges must consider is whether either parent has a history of substance abuse. If the judge fails to consider or ignores evidence of substance abuse when making the custody ruling, you can appeal the ruling on the grounds of error of law.
This is the strongest and most common ground for appeal since the court reviewing your case doesn’t have to consider exactly what the judge did. The court only needs to look at the specific law that the judge should have applied and determine whether or not the judge committed an error.
Abuse of Judicial Discretion
Judges have immense power when making decisions regarding a case, except with decisions that must be based on the application of specific laws. If the judge commits a mistake when using their judicial discretion, this will not automatically be a foolproof ground for appeal. You must show that the judge clearly abused this discretion.
In cases involving abuse of judicial discretion, the error is usually clear. In such cases, the evidence presented during the trial doesn’t support the decision of the judge, or the judge’s ruling was completely unreasonable.
Seek Legal Guidance from Experienced Suwanee Child Custody Lawyers Now
Appealing a child custody ruling is a very complex procedure involving new evidence, written arguments, and application of various laws. To determine whether an appeal is a viable option for your specific circumstances, contact the Banks, Stubbs & McFarland law firm. You can request a consultation with one of our Suwanee child custody lawyers by calling 770-887-1209 or contacting us online.