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December 19, 2013

Child Custody

CaseTerri Ann Kelly v. Willard Reed Kelly

Issue:  Was wife properly awarded custody of son?

Facts:  The trial court awarded Wife custody of the parties’ two minor children following the termination of an eighteen year marriage.

Appellate Decision:  The intermediate court reversed, in pertinent part, the award of custody of the parties’ fifteen year old son to Wife on the basis that the telephonic testimony from the child’s counselor was not credible and the trial court’s custody determination was contrary to the stated preference of the child.  Judge Susano issued a strong dissenting opinion addressing the majority’s decision to reverse the primary residential parent designation.

Review Granted:  December 12, 2013.

Prediction:  David believes that the Court will likely reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals and hold that the trial court acted within its wide discretion in awarding Wife custody of the parties’ fifteen year old son.