Saturday, June 7, 2014

FAMILY LAW: CIVIL. What does 'abuse of discretion' mean?

Q:  I am considering appealing a Commissioner's decision on matters of Modification of Child Support and Verified Contempt of Parenting Time. I feel that I provided a preponderance of testimony (Commissioner wld not accept ANY tangible proof into evidence). The Fact of Findings either does NOT reflect my testimony or has slanted it in favor of the other party. basically, my motions mentioned above were Denied. I believe the transcripts will show that the weight of testimony given by the parties is on my side and was mostly excluded in the decision making process. The other party did NOT deny much during the hearing and also confirmed that he did do what I alleged in my motions/complaints so I feel that I met the burden of proof.

A:  David's Answer:  Abuse of discretion in a nutshell means you believe based on the evidence presented the Magistrate clearly reached the wrong conclusion of law. Assessments of credibility will usually be the sole province of the Magistrate. Bear in mind that you only have 30 days from the date of the order (35 days if it was mailed to you) to file an Objection appeal. Schedule a consult with a Family Law attorney in your area for a full assessment.   -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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