This is the next post in my series on the handling of San Bernardino, California child custody appeals. My last article discussed options for challenging the lower court’s “best interests” determinations. It is important to understand that child custody law is primarily concerned with the best interests of the child. If you can show that the lower court erred when determining what was, in fact, in the child’s best interests then you may be able to gain a reversal. In this article we will discuss the possibilities for challenging a Judge’s evidentiary rulings. If you need assistance, then contact my office today to speak with an attorney.
Common issues in appeals revolve around whether the Trial Court incorrectly denied or allowed the admission of documentary evidence. Other issues revolve around whether or not testimony should have been allowed and considered. Each of these issues can be crucial on appeal. I will discuss each of them in turn.
There are many forms of evidence which may be used in a child custody trial. These can include school and medical records, documents related to employment, police reports, photographs, and more. In order for the Court to allow such items into evidence they must be relevant to the proceedings and foundation of their authenticity must be established. Courts sometimes make the mistake of admitting evidence which should not have been allowed in the proceedings. An example of this would be when a parent attempts to admit a police report into evidence but does not call the officer who wrote the report as a witness. The officer’s testimony may be required to verify the authenticity of the report, unless other evidence is used to establish its veracity. Under this example, if the Court admitted the report into evidence and relied on it when making a custody determination then it may be possible to gain a reversal. This is just one example of how the admission or non-admission of evidence can create an issue on appeal.
Other common appellate issues revolve around whether or not testimony should have been allowed over an objection. Witnesses are not allowed to sit on the witness stand and simply say whatever they wish. Their testimony must conform to the rules of evidence and when it does not then the opposing attorney may object. Whether an objection should have been overruled is an issue on appeal if the Court relied on the testimony as an important part of making its decision. The Appellate Court will rely on the trial transcripts when determining whether or not the prior ruling was correct.
If it can be established that the Court incorrectly admitted or denied evidence, then you may have grounds for a reversal. If you wish to appeal a Family Court decision, then it is crucial that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. This is due to the fact that you have a limited amount of time in which you may file your appeal. Missing your deadline will mean giving up your right to challenge the decision. As a San Bernardino family law appeals lawyer, I am able to assist you with such matters. Contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.
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