The simple answer is yes. But first, let us establish the basics of child custody. Custody is a parent’s legal and physical right to their child. Legal custody is the right of the parent to make significant decisions on the child’s life. Physical custody is the right of a parent to have the child live with them. One parent can have sole legal and physical custody, and both can share joint legal and physical custody. A parent may also acquire sole physical custody but share legal custody with the other parent. Usually, when parents cannot agree on who keeps and decides for the child, they need court intervention.
The family court judge makes a ruling based on the clear and convincing evidence each party presents in court. They will decide what they believe is in the child’s best interest. However, there are instances when a parent is not satisfied with the court’s decision or feels unfair factors influenced the decision. When a parent disagrees with the court’s decision, they can appeal.
What is a child custody appeal?
A child custody appeal is when a parent files an appeal to petition a higher court to change or reverse a lower court’s ruling. In this case, the lower court is the family court. The higher court can also order a retrial of the initial proceeding. It is a parent’s right to appeal a family court judge’s decision, albeit the higher court will not appeal all child custody decisions. In Arkansas, the higher courts are the Arkansas Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.
An appeal is not a redo of the child custody case. The Court of Appeals or Supreme Court will review the evidence that each party originally presented. They will check if any legal errors occurred. The higher courts may move to change or reverse a lower court’s decision when inadmissible or immaterial evidence influenced the decision. They will also consider any violation of procedural requirements and credibility issues. Furthermore, they will verify the accurate application of laws to the custody case.
Why appeal a child custody court order?
If you believe the family court made a serious error when deciding what is in your child’s best interest, this is your opportunity to overturn that decision. You have a second chance to fight for the type of custody you see is fair. You have a chance to be the parent you want to be.