Cases & Deals

Emergency custody matter concludes successfully

Clients B.T.

Our client retained custody of her two nieces in a recent case which was referred to Jones Day on an emergency basis. The custody case involved two girls, ages 8 and 16. Their father was murdered in the spring of 2008, they lost their mother to cancer a few months later, and then, in August of 2009, their maternal grandmother was killed in a car accident. Throughout these tragedies, the girls' aunt (their mother's sister and the DVAP client) had been their rock; at only 28 years old, she quit her job and put her life on hold to take care of her nieces. She even helped to re-establish the girls' relationship with their paternal grandparents, whom they had not seen regularly since their parents' separation several years earlier.

In January 2010, the girls' paternal grandparents sued for custody. In their petition, the grandparents tried to cut the aunt out of the girls' lives completely. Jones Day attorneys Jeff Orkin, Angie Boliver, and Jodie Michalski helped her to retain custody of the girls. When Angie and Jodie talked to the girls, it became clear that their aunt was a second mother to them. Jodie felt that it was incredibly important that the girls be allowed to remain with their aunt in the stable, loving environment that she provided.

Angie and Jodie gathered information and deposed the grandparents and a paternal aunt. At the deposition, they were able to gain a number of useful admissions - such as the fact that the aunt took good care of the girls, loved them, provided for them, and had not prevented them from seeing the grandparents. The attorneys were able to use this information to their advantage at the temporary orders hearing. In fact, the judge ultimately awarded the grandparents less than standard visitation. The following week, Jodie received a phone call from the grandparents' attorney asking to settle. Jodie and her colleagues were able to work out an arrangement that was satisfactory to all parties and allowed the girls and their aunt to move on with their lives.