Category Archives: UCCJEA

Father submitted himself to trial court’s personal jurisdcition of Dekalb County, GA

Judgment denying father’s motion to vacate judgment of divorce AFFIRMED, and judgment modifying father’s custody order, AFFIRMED; father’s contention that divorce court lacked jurisdiction based on residency of his children, whom he alleged resided in Ethiopia when divorce was filed and when divorce decreee was issued in 2006, was moot, since trial court entered 2010 custody modificaiton and parenting plan order, it was uncontested that children and their mother resided in Dekalb county then and father submitted himself to trial court’s personal jurisdcition when he filed his cusotdy modificaiton pleading and he appeared for hearing on same; father’s contention that trial court erred in failing to make jurisdictional findings regarding children’s home state in body of 2010 custody modificaiton and parenting plan on basis that Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiciton Act generally requires such findings, rejected, since there is no such authority where, as here, trial court did not decline jurisdiciton on basis of being inconvenient forum or stay matter because of another custody action in foreign jurisdiciton.

Wondium v. Getachew, S11A0647 (05/16/2011)

GA Father In Contempt For Failing To Enroll Son In Henry County School.

Judgement modifying parties’ custody, child support and visitation and ruling that father was in contempt for failing to enroll parties’ son in Henry county school system as agreement incorporated into parties’ final divorce decree required, AFFIRMED; record supported trial court’s conclusion that father willfully failed to enroll his son in Henry county school system as  agreement required, particularly in light of his failure to communicate with child’s mother before moving child out of state and his failure to seek judicial reevaluation of custody based upon his planned move;  father’s contention that trial court ‘ “erred by relying on a facially invalid self-executing custody provision”‘ in parties agreement, REJECTED, as agreement included no such provision; father’s claim that agreement ‘ “effectively restricted him from establishing residence anyway other than Henry County” ‘ and constituted unlawful attempt to retain jurisdiction over child REJECTED, since agreement provided only that judicial reevaluation of custody would be triggered if father moved; issuance of final order modifying custody in separate action mooted father’s claim of error regarding trial court’s ex parte emergency order in contempt action; evidence supported trial court’s finding that father ‘ “fled with the child to an out-of-state undisclosed location and hid the child.  the father intentionally avoided contact with the mother for a significant amount of time;” ‘ record belied defendant’s contention that trial court concluded that defendant’s military assignment prevented him from providing stable home environment for the child.

Roberts v. Kinsey, A10A2122 (03/23/2011)

Fulton County Daily Report:  April 8, 2011

 

GA Jurisdicion and Findings of Fact

Judgment denying father’s motion to vacate judgment of divorce AFFIRMED, and judgment modifying father’s custody order, AFFIRMED; father’s contention that divorce court lacked jurisdiction based on residency of his children, whom he alleged resided in Ethiopia when divorce was filed and when divorce decree was issued in 2006, was moot, since trial court entered 2010 custody modification and parenting plan order, it was uncontested that children and their mother resided in DeKalb county then and father submitted himself to trial court’s personal jurisdiction when he filed his custody modification pleading and he appeared for hearing on same;  father’s contention that trial court erred in failing to make jurisdictional findings regarding children’s home state in body of 2010 custody modification and parenting plan on basis the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act generally requires such finds, rejected, since there is no such authority where, as here, the trial court did not decline jurisdiction on basis of being inconvenient forum or stay matter because of another custody action in foreign jurisdiction.

Sondium v. Getachew, 11 FCDR 1470

From:  Fulton County Daily Report:  May 27, 2011

Criminal contempt order requiring Rhode Island resident to pay $5K fine and be imprisoned for 200 days for her failure to comply with terms of temporary modification of parental grandparents’ visitation rights to her two children REVERSED.

Criminal contempt order requiring Rhode Island resident to pay $5K fine and be imprisoned for 200 days for her failure to comply with terms of temporary modification of parental grandparents’ visitation rights to her two children REVERSED; trial court had jurisdiction over grandparents’ modification action, since initial custody determination complied with OCGA 19-9-61, children’s father still lived in Georgia, and personal jurisdiction over mother was not necessary in order to address requested modification; trial court lacked personal jurisdiction under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) over mother for contempt and personal service of mother outside Georgia was invalid under circumstances;  Court relied on Ashburn v. Baker, 256 Ga. 507 (1986), which held that Georgia courts did not have personal jurisdiciton over non-risident mother, who was served outside Georgia, under either now-repealed UCCJEA or long arm statutue, and found the UCCJEA required same result; UCCJEA specifically addresses continuing jurisdiction of cusotdy issues, but not contempt issues and it did not repeal any existing statutory provisions covering divorce, custody, alimony or child support procedures; mother did not admit personal jurisdiciton when she failed to respond to discovery served with complaint, since return of service only showed that she was served with summons and complaint, not discovery; contempt order was not enforceable in Rhode Island pursuant to UCCJEA, since applicable provisions referred to custody determinations and did not includ contempt orders.

Daniels v. Barnes,  A07A1719 (03/04/08), 08 FCDR 795

Fulton County Daily Report, 03/21/2008

Denial of appellant’s motion to dismiss appellee’s complaint to record and modify Alabama child support order, REVERSED in GA.

Denial of appellant’s motion to dismiss appellee’s complaint to record and modify Alabama child support order, REVERSED; trial court erred by finding that appellant was Georgia resident for these purposes and also erred by awarding attorneys’ fees to appellee on modification action; trial court erred in ruling that appellant resides in Georgia, since there was extensive evidence that appellant continues to consider Alabama his home and he intends to remain there.

Kean v. Marshall, A08A0828 (11/10/08), 08 FCDR 3730

Fulton County Daily Report, 12/05/2008.

GA Doctrine of Unclean Hands does not apply in child custody cases!

Trial court’s order awarding sole custody to father, AFFIRMED; trial court was presumably correct in allowing father to bring his petition for modification, because mother did not show that father’s petition was filed as prohibited counterclaim under O.C.G.A § 19-9-23(c); moreover, father’s petition bore a different case number than mother’s petitions and parties’ actions were filed almost simultaneously; doctrine of unclean hands does not apply in child custody cases and trial court was not required to retain custody with mother simply because father picked up minor from mother’s mother and step-father’s house; trial court DID NOT abuse its discretion in finding material change in circumstances affecting minor’s welfare, because mother left minor in her mother and step-father’s care for several months without notifying father and forged court order in attempt to take child away from father.

Lynch v. Horton, A09A1934 (3/03/10), 10 FCDR 638

From the Fulton County Daily Report – 3/19/2010

GA Court SHALL Consider All 8 Factors before Declining Jurisdiction

Grant of mother’s motion for trial court to decline to exercise its jurisdiction under UCCJEA with regard to father’s petition for change of custody of parties 14-year-old son based on child’s selection under OCGA 19-9-3(a)(5), VACATED; Fulton County Superior Court had exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over father’s petition, since it rendered prior child custody determination consistent with UCCJEA and father is Georgia resident with significant connection to state; superior court abused its discretion in declining jurisdiction, because it apparently did not comply with statutory requirement that it shall consider all eight factors set forth in OCGA 19-9-67(b); superior court did not err in considering revised provisions of 19-9-3(a)(5), effective January 1, 2008, since father filed his motion in August 2008; mother’s subsequent filing of contempt motion did not estop her from claiming that Fulton County Superior Court was inconvenient forum from custody proceeding.

From:  Fulton County Daily Report 09/25/2009)

Murillo v. Murillo, A09A1500 (09/10/09), 09 FCDR 2986

Attorneys:  Elizabeth J. Kuhn, Jesus A. Nerio

Judges:  Cynthia D. Wright, Fulton Superior Court;  Appellant Judges:  Andrews, Miller, Barnes

GA Mother’s Motion to Dismiss Complaint for Divorce Denied on Question of Jurisdicion

Mother appealed the denial of a  motion to dismiss her husband’s complaint for divorce and child custody, challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction under the UCCJEA.  The trial court was AFFIRMED finding the trial court had jurisdiction over custody matter under OCGA 19-9-61(3); though appellant filed for custody court in West Virginia one month prior to present action, West Virginia dismissed action on jurisdictional grounds, specifically finding that appellant still had Georgia diver’s license, was registered Georgia voter and had credit card bills, utility bills and student loans coming to her Georgia address.

From:  Fulton County Daily Report 9/18/2009

Cohen v. Cohen, Ao9A0843 (09/02/09)

Attorneys:  Dwight T. Feemster, James C. Metts III.

Judge:  Perry Brannen Jr., Chatham Superior Court; Appellant Judges Doyle, Blackburn, Adams.