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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 129490
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I appealed the judges order to grant 50/50 custody of my seven

Customer Question

I appealed the judges order to grant 50/50 custody of my seven year old son due to high conflict between me and the father as well as domestic violence issues. The appellate attorney withdrew from my case because she feels it lacks merit for an appeal. Can I request another appellate attorney or is this the end of my appeal?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can I object to the appellate attorney's decision to withdraw. What are my options if I want to proceed.
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for allowing me to assist you.
You may hire a new attorney to represent you, or continue representing yourself. But if your current attorney is withdrawing because she believes the case lacks merit, you may want to consider whether or not she has a point, so that you don't waste your money continuing with an appeal that cannot succeed. For an appeal to succeed, you must either show legal error on the part of the judge, or abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is virtually impossible to establish, so realistically, you will need to show legal error. Do you believe that there was law that the judge did not follow properly?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes I have found legal error. Certain errors occurred through out the case before the last hear and certain errors occurred during the last hearing. Can the errors that occurred through out the case be addressed on appeal? What is abuse of discretion? I wanted to know if I could request another appellate attorney appointed by the courts? How do I request another court appointed attorney after one withdraws?
Expert:  S. Kincaid replied 3 years ago.
Was your attorney appointed by the Court? Or did you obtain the lawyer through a legal aid agency or in some other manner?
Also, did the legal errors actually affect the judge's ultimate decision? If they are what is called "harmless" error, then it will not support an appeal.
Abuse of discretion is basically when a judge's order is so outrageous, that no reasonable person could have made the same decision based on the facts.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The attorney was appointed by the court. This was a dependency case where as I was attacked by my boyfriend and he fractured my skull. The general magistrate ordered took my seven year old son from my custody and place him with his father temporarily because she said I did not protect my children. She said I should have filed a restraining order against my boy friend. I have two sons from two fathers. My seven year old son's father was challenging me for custody and I believe that is the reason my seven year old was taken from me. The general magistrate allowed my 3 year old to remain with me in my care and custody. I completed all of my case plan goals with substantial compliance. By law my son was supposed to be reunited with me 6 months and supervised by the child protection agency after substantial compliance but instead the general magistrate gave me 50/50 custody and terminated supervision by child protection agency. Also, the child advocate reported to the court conflict with co-parenting but she ordered that we share custody. Before this case my son was in my care and custody. He had no relationship with his dad and dad was not paying child support. He used this dependency case to get custody and avoid paying child support. Supervision should not have been terminated, dependency court is not for custody battles, placing my son in a 50/50 custody arrangement is not in his best interest especially when his father does not cooperate with parenting and is abusive to me in front of my son. I really need to know how to proceed. Can the court appoint another appellate attorney or will they review the record to determine if my case has merit? Who do I call, what do I file, where can I go to pursue this issue?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello, Are you still there?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Since I have not received a response to the last set of questions I am going to assume you are no longer available to answer questions. Thanks and good bye.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a different contributor here as it looks like your previous contributor had to leave.
I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
The FL courts hold that the preferred custody arrangement is 50-50 shared custody, which they believe is in the best interests of the child. If they granted 50-50 custody, then it means the court does not believe you are a danger to your child as originally thought when they removed the child from your care.
I understand you believe that you should regain sole custody and that is what you are seeking to appeal, so in order to do that you have to prove the judge abused his discretion in awarding the 50-50 custody because it is not best for the child and it is up to you to prove why it is not best for the child (this is not about what is best for you, mind you, so you have to focus on the child's interests only).
You can contact the public defender's office who was previously representing you and ask for their appellate section for representation. However, if they are telling you that the evidence does not present a legal basis for appeal, then your other recourse is contacting the state bar and also the local spousal abuse center (since you allege there was abuse involved in the relationship with the father in question) and ask them for assistance from their pro bono attorneys in your area to assist.