The child custody appeal attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., literally field these questions on a routine basis. Domestic relations is a vast area of law which constitutes one-half of the civil docket. The legal dynamics are often secondary to the emotional turmoil a family experiences during these cases if they relate to children.
These matters are legally unique because most civil cases have a clear equitable remedy, such as injunction (prohibiting behavior), or legal remedy, such as an award of a sum of money, available to a trial court. This is not the case where a child is the subject of the litigation and every party (mother, father, or de facto) wants custody and the maximum amount of time with the child.
As advocates, we never lose sight of the legal and emotional interplay in these cases. If this is your case, the Reader, there are a number of steps we believe are appropriate to help any child custody appellate attorney who may handle your case. In other words, we are proponents of clients helping a new custody appellate lawyer get up to speed on his or her case.
We believe this serves an important purpose for mother, father, or third party–the sense of loss of control, sadness and other feelings may be channeled in constructive ways to help the lawyer make the most of the appeal. As seasoned appellate advocates, we are only able to be as effective as we can be by understanding the case.
How is this done? In the majority of cases, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. custody attorneys find the following client-prepared materials are great help in trying to assimilate facts and circumstances, sometimes years in the making:
A list of the names, addresses, telephone number for all key participants in the case to date, these may include doctors, psychologists, neighbors, relatives, prior attorneys, CASA, judges, or others whose information will appear anywhere in the trial court record. With this, a description of their involvement in the case is important.
A time line of the relationship: how the parties are involved with the child, since when, where has the child resided and for what time frames.
A list of any errors or shortfalls that are apparent to be considered on appeal.
With all of this, our child custody appeal approach is the attorney and client work hand in hand to determine the most viable legal issues relative to the relief or remedy sought by the appeal. Critically, this must be considered in the larger or global context of what will occur, if some or all of the appeal fails.
Where possible, and stated differently, a child custody appeal should be Plan “A”, but a secondary course of action, or Plan “B” should be evaluated. This may even be seeking appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court based on an important policy.
This approach allows the maximum focus of the appeal and assessment of the realistic courses that may occur and be engaged if it fails. Ultimately, this may come full circle and necessitate rasing or not raising some issues in the appeal.
This is Ciyou & Dixon, P.C.’s approach to domestic child custody appeals. If this makes sense to you and is consistent with you expectations for your domestic child custody appeal, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. child custody attorneys may be your counsel.