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appealing custody decision

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?PA

I moved out of the marital home last summer and took my son with me. We moved 30 minutes away to be near where I worked because there were no apartments near our marital home. I moved because of verbal abuse, 4 years of constant arguing and my husband's abuse of our disabled daughter who died shortly before I moved out. I discussed the move with a domestic violence counselor, my therapist and my lawyer. My lawyer said it would be ok.

My husband petitioned the court to prevent me from enrolling our son in the new school. On Aug. 31st the judge decided that our son could go to the new school and scheduled a custody evaluation and hearing. We agreed upon an evaluator that my husband's lawyer had suggested.

To make it short, the custody evaluator was very biased (big surprise, right?) and the report came back bad (his primary complaint with me was due to the fact that I moved and caused unnecessary changes yet he identified suicidal thoughts, depression and anger issues with my husband and the potential for physical harm to our son). Although my lawyer discredited him pretty well in court (he had no experience with domestic violence), the judge still went with his recommendation and gave my husband primary custody and now my son has to change schools again mid-year and then will be re-districted in the fall to yet another school.

My question is what can I do to fix this? What is the appeal process and can I get another evaluation or something? Did my lawyer cost me my case by first not warning me about the impact of my move and for allowing an evaluator that was clearly biased.


Senior Member
There is usually a time limit on when the appeal can be filed. Don't know the specifics for your state, but most states the limit is 30 days after the ruling.

What grounds are you looking at for the appeal? It has to be more than you just didn't like the ruling.


Senior Member
You asked for advice last summer, you were advised of the consequences of moving your child away and keeping your child away without court orders and suggestions to keep your child in the same school district. You had no compelling reasons and chose your personal preferences over that of your child. A judge looks at all of that and the psychological evaluation and makes an objective decision. Claiming domestic violence has consequences and must be proven. You make some strong accusations, were these proven in court? You were grieving but that doesn't excuse your actions made after opportunity to consult. You can't blame everyone for your decisions or make an appeal because you don't like the decision.

What are your grounds for appeal?

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