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Gordon v. Abrahams

Court of Appeals of Georgia

March 2, 2015

GORDON
v.
ABRAHAMS

Page 545

Custody. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Lane.

Judgment affirmed.

Celeste F. Brewer, for appellant.

Miller & Brown, John B. Miller, P. Justin Thrailkill, Kessler & Solomiany, Dennis G. Collard, for appellee.

MILLER, Judge. Doyle, P. J., concurs fully. Dillard, J., concurs in judgment only as to Division 1 and concurs fully as to Divisions 2 and 3.

OPINION

Page 546

Miller, Judge.

Randall Gordon petitioned for modification of the child custody and support terms that had been established by settlement agreement with his child's mother, Arlene Abrahams. The trial court denied Gordon's petition and ordered Gordon to pay attorney fees and guardian ad litem (" GAL" ) fees. Gordon appeals, contending that the trial court erred in (1) refusing to modify custody based on changed circumstances; (2) denying his request for additional closing argument; and (3) awarding fees. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

We will affirm a trial court's decision on a petition to change custody if there is any reasonable evidence in the record to support it. When reviewing a child custody decision, this Court views the evidence presented in the light most favorable to upholding the trial court's order.

( Citations and punctuation omitted.) Lynch v. Horton, 302 Ga.App. 597 (692 S.E.2d 34) (2010).

So viewed, the record shows that Gordon and Abrahams are the parents of a ten-year-old son. Gordon and Abrahams never married, and after they separated, Gordon legitimated the child. Following mediation, the parties entered into a settlement agreement in June 2011 regarding custody and support. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Gordon and Abrahams shared joint legal custody of their son, and Abrahams had primary physical custody, with Gordon enjoying liberal visitation. In August 2011, Gordon petitioned for a change of child custody and support, seeking primary physical custody of the child and a morality clause to prevent Abrahams from having overnight guests.

Much of the evidence at the hearing on Gordon's petition focused on Abrahams's boyfriend. A few days after Gordon filed his petition, the child reported to Gordon that Abrahams's boyfriend had tickled him and he did not like it. Gordon suspected child abuse and took the child to the doctor for a physical exam; he also reported his suspicions to the police and to the Division of Family and Children Services (" DFCS" ). Ultimately, the authorities found no evidence of abuse; no charges were ever brought against Abrahams's boyfriend; and DFCS never opened a case.

Abrahams's boyfriend had been convicted in California in 1998 of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor more than three years younger than him. However, aside from the tickling incident, there were no allegations that Abrahams's boyfriend had sexually abused [330 Ga.App. 796] or acted improperly toward Abrahams's and Gordon's son, or toward Abrahams's teenaged daughter.

Abrahams's boyfriend does not live with her, but he stays at her home approximately two weekends a month and spends the night during those visits. At the time of the hearing, Abrahams's boyfriend was ...


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