State law in Ohio and throughout the nation seeks to protect the best interests of a child above the interests of a parent. However, it is possible for a parent to appeal a child custody ruling if there is reason to believe that it was flawed in some way. Generally speaking, only final and complete orders are subject to appeal. This means that there has been a hearing on the matter and that all pending issues have been resolved.
It is important to note that an appellate court is held to the same standard as the court that issued the original ruling. This means that it must find that overturning the lower court’s ruling would somehow be in the best interests of the child. During an appeal, a parent is not allowed to offer new evidence or ask that witnesses testify on his or her behalf. The appellate court only reviews a transcript from the original hearing as well as a brief submitted by the parent or the parent’s attorney.
In most cases, the parent is not in the room when an appellate judge reviews these documents or makes his or her final decision. Parents may benefit by speaking with an attorney prior to appealing a case as states may have their own process that they must follow.
Those who are seeking custody of their children must generally show that obtaining those rights are in a son or daughter’s best interest. Parents may be able to convince a judge that this is the case by moving into a larger apartment or moving to a safer part of town. Completing a rehab program or parenting classes may also convince a judge that granting sole or joint custody is the proper decision in a given case.