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Raising objections to GALs' reports


Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 04:01:02 +0000
From: "Daniel Lee" danlee5@hotmail.com

Tennessee: In other news, we just had a ruling come out from our Supreme Court on guardian ad litems, and you may want to post this.

The ruling says if objection is raised in the trial court, the GAL's report will be considered hearsay. This is huge because these reports provide the basis for denying joint custody. Even without the GAL's report sole custody could still be an outcome. But they have to work harder to get there, by calling in lots of witnesses to testify, who might be in different parts of the country.

This ruling can be cited in any case nationwide, and there is an even more important aspect to it. It proves attorneys are not raising obvious points of law on behalf of fathers. It has always been true a guardian ad litem could not submit hearsay, and yet no attorney even objected on this point.

What other points of law are attorneys failing to raise on behalf of fathers? The answer is constitutional law, as well as a statute we have that says the judge "shall" award enough parenting time to maintain the parent-child relationship.

The attorney who won this case for parents? A father who got shafted by the system, went to law school, and is now asking the judges to follow the law. He is presently seeking the right client to mount a constitutional challenge against Tennessee's child custody law, so it is just a matter of time before that is addressed.

Toms v. Toms
http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/TSC/PDF/031/TomsJD.pdf

Daniel Lee


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Updates:
2003 01 12
2003 05 02 (added reference to Family Law — Table of Contents