Tag Archives: Child Custody

GA Primary custody of parties’ two minor children to mother; father did not have concrete childcare plan.

Grant of primary custody of parties’ two minor children to mother, affirmed, as evidence supported trial court’s decision; although both parents were fit and spent quality time with children, father did not have concrete childcare plan and did not engage children in age-appropriate activities with other children, while mother lived new her parents, who could help with childcare, and planned summer camps and social events for children; amount of child support awarded to mother, affirmed, as trial court properly ascertained that mother was was not willfully underemployed, and trial court was not required to abate father’s child support obligation or award him child support during children’s summer visitation with him.

Rowden v. Rowden, S11F0812 (11/07/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, November 18, 2011

GA Father did not abandon his opportunity interest in forming relationship with his child.

Order granting father’s petition to legitimate his biological son, affirmed, as trial court properly determined that father did not abandon his opportunity interest in forming relationship with his child; father developed and maintained relationship with his child from his birth on December 30, 2007, until mother blocked his access to child in February 2010, and father supported child financially from his birth and even after he was no longer allowed contact with him; mother’s contention that father waived his opportunity interest in child by offering mother no emotional or financial support during her pregnancy, rejected, since father’s lack of involvement prior to child’s birth ‘ “is as significant as such a disregard after the child is born,” ‘ but no authority limits trial court’s inquiry into whether father has abandoned his opportunity interest to period before child’s birth, especially where, as here, father evidenced clear intent to be involved in his child’s life following his birth; trial court did not err in excluding character evidence unrelated to issue of custody in determining what arrangement was in child’s best interest; trial court did not abuse its discretion in using mother’s former income of $32K per year in calculating child support, since she voluntarily terminated her employment; any issue surrounding supersedeas imposed when mother filed motion for new trial was moot; father’s motion for frivolous appeal penalties, denied.

Caldwell v. Meadows, A11A1031 (10/14/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, November 4, 2011

GA Juvenile court did not err in holding review hearing without mother present.

Continuation of custody of minor mother’s 2-year-old child with DFACS, affirmed, as juvenile court did not err in holding review hearing without mother present; pretermitting whether court erred in not continuing hearing, mother failed to establish that she was harmed by not being present, as she did not allege that her attorney did not adequately represent her interests or that juvenile court erred in its disposition of case; juvenile court did not err in admitting certain unauthenticated documents, as all helpful information may be received in proceeding involving child custody, other non-hearsay evidence supported juvenile court’s findings, and mother failed to show how she was harmed by documents’ admission.

In the Interest of N. H., A11A1280 (10/20/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, November 4, 2011

GA Children’s extracurricular activities can encroach upon mother’s custodial time.

Denial of father’s contempt motion, affirmed, as trial court did not impermissibly modify parties’ prior divorce decree in holding that mother can use her custodial time with parties’ children in any way she deems appropriate; trial court merely clarified extent to which father’s decision-making authority with regard to children’s extracurricular activities can encroach upon mother’s custodial time.

Earle v. Earle, A11A1450 (10/18/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, November 4, 2011

GA Child Custody, Child Cupport, Modificaiton, Visitation Rights, Jurisdiction, Dismissal

Trial court’s corder entered in post-divorce lititation, AFFIRMED; trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding mother in contempt for taking parties’ 11 year-old son to counseling because trial court’s previous order gave father final decision-making authority for child’s health and medical issues, and father disappoved of therapist to wom mother took child; trial court did not err when, after finding that mother withheld visitation from father, it dismissed contempt, visitation, and custody portions of mother’s petiton and did not permit mother to present evidence on merits of dismissed claims, pursuant to OCGA 19-9-24 (b); because mother filed current petition for modificaiton of child support 11 months after trial court dismissed her earlier petition for modificaiton of child support, trial court did not err in dismissing portion of mother’s peition seeking modificaiton of child support, pursuant to OCGA 19-6-15 (k)(2); trial court did not err as matter of law when it refused to allow guardian ad litem to interview child’s therapist without father’s consent because mother previously consented to entry of modified consent order appointing guardian ad litem and providing that guardian was not authorized to speak with child’s  therapist without permission of both parents; trial court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered mother to pay remainder of fees owed guardian ad litem because mother was ot prevailing party, and no statute required that trial court consider parties’ relative financial circumstances when apportioning shares of guardian’s fees pursuant to consent order ; trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to apply rule of sequestration to unidentifed woman in courtroom because woman did not testify; trial court did not lack jurisdiction to deny mother’s motion to set aside award of attorneys’ fees, despite fact that mother previously filed notice of appeal from underlaying judgment, because underlying judgment was final, and trial court’s award of attorney’s fees did not supplment, ament, alther, ormodify that judgment; mother’s application for sicretionary review of denial or her motion to set aside award of attorneys’ fees, proper, because where both OCGA 5-6-34 (a) and 5-6-35(a) are involved, application for appeal is required when uderlying subject matter of appeal is listed in 5-6-34(a).

Avren v. Garten, S11A0688 (05/16/2011).

Fulton County Daily Report, May 27, 2011

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 trial court correctly avoided any presumption against wife’s anticipated relocation

Final judgment and decree of divorce, AFFIRMED; evidence supported trial court’s award of primary physical cusotdy of parties’ child to wife, and trial court correctly avoided any presumption against wife’s anticipated relocation; wife had served as primary caregiver since child’s birth; wife had strong, loving relaionship with child; and husband, both before and during divorce proceedings, exhibted conduct casting doubt on his trustworthiness, truthfulness and judgement.

Reed v. Reed, S11A0052 (05/16/11)

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, 5/27/2011

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 Modification of Child Custody

Order granting father’s petition to modify child custody rights awarded to mother in parties’ prior divorce decree, PARTIALLY REVERSED; mother’s claim of error in trial court’s custody award, DISMISSED, as child turned 18 shortly after instant appeal was docketed; trial court ERRED to extent that it required mother to pay child support pursuant to OCGA 19-6-15 (e), with no limit as to age, because financial assistance after child reaches age of majority but is still in secondary school is only required until child reaches age 20; trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees to father, VACATED and case remanded, because original award of attorneys’ fees failed to include statutory basis for award of findings authorized award, and no evidence showed that mother received proper notice or opportunity for hearing.

Francis-Rolle v. Harvey, A11A0357 (05/05/11)

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, May 20, 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