Category Archives: Guardan Ad Litem

Custody to the Grandparents.

ContemptCustody to the Grandparents.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment awarding custody of Kyung Trotter and Michael Ayers Jr.’s minor child to the child’s paternal grandparents, holding that the trial court did not apply the wrong legal standard for determining when a third party can be granted custody of a minor child over the biological parents. In so holding, the Court noted that the custody dispute arose in 2009, when the child was being raised by the paternal grandparents, having been abandoned by the father, thus the standard is predicated on O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1 (b.1), which governs custody disputes between a biological parent and a limited number of third parties who are related to the child, including grandparents. The trial court’s final custody order reflected that the trial court properly applied the correct legal standard in ruling that the presumption in favor of granting custody to the mother was rebutted by clear and convincing evidence and that the child’s best interests would be better served by awarding custody to the paternal grandparents. The Court also held that, absent a transcript, the trial court’s rulings regarding the sufficiency of the evidence and several additional alleged errors were presumably correct. Next, the trial court did not err in granting the guardian ad litem’s request for a custody evaluation, as Superior Court Rule 24.9 (8) (a) authorizes the same. Finally, the mother failed to carry her burden of showing harm from the court-appointed custody evaluator’s failure to timely provide her with a written report of the evaluation; the trial court did not err in permitting the grandparents to intervene in response to the mother’s petition seeking a change in custody; the record belied the mother’s contention that the trial court did not rule on her motion to dismiss the grandparents’ motion to intervene; and the mother’s pro se brief violated Court of Appeals Rule 25 (a) (1), because many pages of the procedural and factual background section contained no ‘ “citation of such parts of the record or transcript essential to a consideration of the errors complained of.”

Custody to the Grandparents.  For more information about the facts of this case, see Trotter v. Ayers, A12A0702 (03/05/12).

Fulton County Daily Report, March 16, 2012

If you have questions about CUSTODY TO THE GRANDPARENTS, divorce settlement agreement, contempt, or if you considering filing a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

GA Order modifying terms of appellant’s visitation rights, affirmed, as custody evaluation was proper.

Order modifying terms of appellant’s visitation rights, affirmed, as custody evaluation was proper in this case though the case originally involved visitation; parties were divorced and consented to joint legal and physical custody of children; appellee filed petition seeking to modify terms of appellant’s visitation; custody evaluator was assigned to case, and her findings were not to be distributed except with court’s permission; appellant called expert witness who admitted to having copy of custody evaluator’s report; trial court granted appellee’s petition to modify appellant’s visitation; trial court did not err in declining to declare a mistrial after guardian ad litem advised court in chambers about statements made by one child, while appellant was not there, since his attorney was present and made no objection at the time, attorney waited until guardian placed evidence on record in matter before objecting, guardian did not introduce unreported evidence in chambers, and appellant failed to support argument that guardian’s statements so prejudiced court that it could not have ruled properly; prohibiting appellant’s expert from testifying about the report did not violate appellant’s due process rights; expert’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was not violated; appellant had no standing to bring Fourth Amendment claim on behalf of expert, and expert consented to the court’s request to view file which contained unauthorized report; appellant properly held in contempt of court for allowing his expert to review the custody evaluator’s report; no error in denying appellant’s motion in limine to exclude from record portions of evaluator’s report that contained the children’s statements; to degree any statements could be considered hearsay, the courts have presumed to have disregarded it.

Gottschalk v. Gottschalk, A11A0262 (07/08/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, July 29, 2011