Appeals Court Grants Custody to Father that Cleaned Up Substance Abuse Problem
Denver, CO (Law Firm Newswire) March 20, 2012 - An appeals court is sending the daughter of a Colorado couple back to be with her father after her mother died. She has spent most of her life with her maternal step-grandmother.
The couple never married and the mother moved out of Colorado shortly after the daughter was born, according to court records. When the child was about three years old, the mother died while living with Phyllis Meyer, the child's grandmother.
The father, Edward Thomas Slover, filed for child custody in Colorado but was denied because of substance abuse issues, according to records.
“The courts are going to grant child custody to the caregiver who can provide the most stable, safe environment,” said Denver child custody attorney Bill Thode. “The key is to put goals into the agreement wherein a parent can get back into the court’s favor.”
The child was placed in Meyer’s legal and physical custody in Florida and Slover was granted supervised visitation until he had been clean of substance abuse for a year. Slover also shared in all decisions regarding the child, according to the court.
Slover complied with the court’s decision and cleaned up his substance abuse issues. He went on to exercise unsupervised visitation and shared holidays and summer vacations with his daughter.
About two years later, Slover initiated proceedings in Alabama, where he was then living, seeking primary custody of his daughter.
His petition was to modify the Colorado court’s order because of a substantial change in circumstances since the original parenting plan was agreed upon. Slover had been drug free for a number of years, was married with a child and owned a home in Alabama that would be a good home for his daughter, too.
The trial court denied his petition for a modification of the order. The appeals court reversed the trial court’s ruling saying that the trial court used the wrong legal standard in denying his petition.
“In this case, the natural parent will be able to raise his daughter in part because he set the wheels in motion at the initial custody trial after the girl’s mother died,” Thode said. “By setting up an initial custody agreement that kept her in his life until he could prove to the court that he was ready to handle custody put himself in a good position to appeal.”
Thode Law Firm, P.C.
201 Steele Street, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80206
Call: (303) 330-0425
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