Court of Appeals vacated judgment granting grandmother’s petition for custody

Floyd v. Gibson, A14A1655

Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (3/19/2015, 4/16/2015)

It was not apparent from the trial court’s order whether it made the requisite findings in awarding custody of three minor children to their grandmother.

The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment awarding custody of Shannon L. Floyd’s three minor children to their maternal grandmother, Sherry A. Gibson, holding that it was not apparent from the order whether the trial court made the requisite findings. DFCS had removed the children from their mother’s custody and placed them with Gibson following the mother’s drug overdose. Gibson filed a petition for custody, Floyd counterclaimed for custody and the trial court awarded custody to Gibson and denied Floyd’s motion for new trial. In its final order, the trial court stated that it applied the following standard: “For [the grandmother] to be awarded custody, she must show by clear and convincing evidence that harm would result to the children if they live with their father . . . and that the best interests of the children are realized by living with [the grandmother].” The Court found that it was not apparent whether the trial court made the requisite determination that the children would suffer “either physical harm or significant, long-term emotional harm” as required under Clark v. Wade, and it was unclear whether the trial court considered the four factors set forth in Clark with regard to custody determinations in cases in which certain third-party relatives seek custody from parents. Accordingly, the Court remanded the case for reconsideration. Miller, J., concurred in judgment only.

As published by The Daily Report, 190 Pryor St. Atlanta, GA 30303 on 4/16/15.