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Timing of appeal is determinative in Georgia custody case

If you are considering appealing a Georgia custody order, it is important to consider the timing of your appeal. In a recent custody modification case, the trial court modified the parties’ divorce decree, changing custody from the mother to the father and ordering the mother to commence paying child support. Francis-Rolle v. Harvey, A11A0357 (2011). The mother appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in granting custody of the parties’ 17-year-old child to the father. Id.

Shortly after the appeal was docketed, the child turned 18 years of age. Id. at 2. The Georgia Court of Appeals dismissed the mother’s appeal of the custody order as moot since “at 18years of age the child has reached the age of legal majority and is no longer subject to the custody order.” Id.

Though it is understandable that the mother was upset about the outcome of the custody modification case, her attorney should have advised her that her time and money would have been better spent on the other issues she raised on appeal.

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