Updated: 2 days ago
Number One thing a parent must do in a family law case BEFORE a judge terminates your legal custody or parental rights (tpr) to your child is to ask for a "Statement of Decision" (SOD). What is an SOD and why should you ask for one? An SOD requires your judge to state in writing, how it decided the facts in your case from the evidence and his/her findings against you. Judges usually don't appreciate a request for a SOD because it requires them to spend additional time explaining their reasoning, and that explanation is usually far short of what is required to terminate (tpr) your legal custody of your child. A parent's right to the care, control and companionship of (and with) their child is a liberty protected interest in the US Constitution, arguably more important than your freedom from being jailed without cause. The members of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCCnet of collusion) who were most likely used as witnesses against you (or their written reports were used as hearsay evidence) are also not going to appreciate an SOD #NoAFCC. The conventional wisdom is "don't ask for an SOD unless you fear you are going to lose."
SODs are the most important thing for an appeal to be successful..... but I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice (NALNLA). Without them, the appellate court will have a difficult time determining the facts because there are usually so many many many things flung around in family law cases. If you don't have an SOD, the appellate court will be looking for a legal error and presume the facts supporting the judge's decisions were correct. The law is that the judge gets to do pretty much whatever he or she wants to under the vague, unconstitutional, "best interest of the child" standard of evidence (everything is admissible).
There are important rules about when to request a SOD so make sure to consult your local CA county guidelines and California statutes. Here is a link to sample forms of statements of decision and help us to #PreventUGI (unwarranted governmental interference) in families by joining RaiseYourRights today.