This is the next post in my discussion on the handling of child custody appeals in San Bernardino, California. My last article explained how parents should proceed while a custody case is on appeal. It is important to understand that you must follow any operative court order and that failing to do so can lead to contempt proceedings. Such proceedings will likely worsen your situation. In this article I will discuss ways in which you may challenge the lower court’s ruling as to what was in the child’s “best interests.” If you need assistance, then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
As I discussed in my article on common issues which arise in child custody appeals, the Court’s determinations are based upon the best interests of the child. There are times, however, when the appellate court may disagree over rulings regarding what is in a child’s best interests. One such instance occurs when the lower court makes a finding that was not supported by the facts. Another occurs when the appellate court simply finds that the court in the initial ruling misinterpreted the facts. I will discuss each of these situations in turn.
There are instances in which the Trial Court may reach a decision without the facts needed to support such a conclusion. Say, for example, the Trial Court finds the child should live primarily with the father and bases this ruling on a finding that the father lives in a better school district. Now say that that the only evidence presented at trial, regarding school districts, was the testimony of the parent. An appellate court may rule that there was insufficient evidence to find that the father lived in a better school district. The appellate court may go on to say that such a finding must be supported by official records from School Boards or other recognized governmental bodies. In an instance such as this the appellate court may find that the lower court erred by basing a “best interests” determination on insufficient evidence regarding the school district the child would attend.
There are other instances in which the appellate court may simply disagree with the lower court’s determinations. Using another example, say that a high school football player wishes to live with his father because he would then be zoned for a school with a better football program. Now say that the school with the better football program has inferior academics but the lower court rules in favor of the father due to the child’s desire to play for a good football team. In a situation such as this the appellate court may possibly hold that academics should be given priority over sports when determining which school would be in the child’s best interests. In other words, the appellate court may simply disagree with the lower court’s priorities.
How appellate courts view any situation is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case. It is, therefore, important that you speak with a child custody appeals lawyer to determine your options. I am a San Bernardino attorney who assists with such situations. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.
We also service Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Ontario, Victorville, Rialto, Hesperia, Chino, Upland, Apple Valley, Redlands, Highland, Colton, Yucaipa, Montclair, elsewhere in the Inland Empire, as well as Los Angeles.