Appeals court: Judge could have acted differently in custody case

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

Many fathers in Illinois might be inclined to think that judges who rule in their family law cases might have a predisposition to rule in favor of mothers when it comes to child custody. A recent case from another state highlights how a judge’s personal opinions might intrude into the adjudication of a case — even if, ultimately, it does not affect the outcome.

In the case in question, two divorcing parents were both seeking primary custody of their three children. The wife told the judge that she was uncomfortable with her husband’s religious beliefs — specifically, that he felt that wives should acquiesce to their husbands’ demands. The judge said she remembered something similar from her own wedding about wives being obedient — an idea that she said she quickly dismissed.

The judge also seemed to interject her opinions into a discussion of the children having cellphones. The divorcing couple disagreed about whether their kids could have phones; the judge said her own 12-year-old had one and indicated that she had no problem with it.

Ultimately, an appeals court upheld the judge’s decision to award primary custody to the mother after the father appealed the decision. Some observers said that even though the ruling was upheld, it is important for a judge not to let personal views interfere in a case such as this.

Fathers who are concerned about how they might be treated in situations such as this one can consult with family law attorneys who have experience handling cases from fathers’ rights perspectives.

Source: Star Tribune, “Bible verse prompts appeal of Stearns County child custody case,” Jeremy Olson, April 11, 2013

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