• Stephen Williams

Mother Granted Summary Judgment of Dismissal in DHR Child Custody Case Using DHR’s Own Court Report

Updated: 2 hours ago



“To the social worker’s credit, it was an accurate and well-prepared report. [The report] just didn’t support DHR’s case as of the date of the hearing. My guess is there’s some kinda internal policy at certain DHR offices, not all of them, against just dismissing a case even though the writing is on the wall.” This statement comes from Foxtrot Child Custody lawyer, Stephen Williams, after a Juvenile Judge reviewed DHR’s own court report and held that there was no way, based on the information contained in the report, that DHR could meet its burden that the Mother was “[un]able or [un]willing to provide for the care, support, or education of [her] child” by “clear and convincing evidence.” See § 12-15-102(8), Ala. Code 1975.

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“We had a fair judge on this one, one who knows the law and applies the law. Based on the status conference and Josh[ Holcomb’s] advocacy at the pre-trial status conference, we thought the Judge might take the opportunity to review the report and not waste half a day or more on a needless trial, and he did,” said Williams.

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If you’re not a lawyer, you might not be familiar with the term “summary judgment,” which is a decision by a Judge resolving an entire claim or case when “there is no genuine dispute of material fact,” according to Rule 56 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.

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According to Williams, “It’s totally underutilized in family law, but it’s right there in the Rules, especially for Juvenile Court cases like DHR cases.” On a separate case from this one, “Judge [Chris] Comer [of the Madison County Circuit Court] granted Summary Judgment in a Child Custody Modification case and told us it was the first time he’d ever entered summary judgment in a family law case in all his time on the bench, and he’s a stickler for proper procedure. So, that’s when we knew we were on to something that could really help a lot of Parents and Relatives in Family Law and Child Custody cases.”

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If you would like to learn more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can stand up for yourself and be more effective in your Child Custody, Divorce or Adoption case, please click “book appointment online” on the menu or top right of your screen to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices.

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This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. ~SW, Foxtrot