Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Fifth District Appellate Court court affirms ruling in custody case

By Amanda Thomas | May 31, 2018

MOUNT VERNON -- The Fifth District Appellate Court has affirmed a lower court’s ruling in a child custody case. 

In a May 22 decision, an appellate panel ruled that a trial court’s order awarding the “majority of parenting time and primary decision-making responsibility to the father was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.” 

Judge David K. Overstreet delivered the court’s opinion, with Judges Richard P. Goldenhersh and James R. Moore concurring. 

The case stems from a petition Ryan Doyle filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court to establish paternity and allocate parenting time and responsibilities regarding two minor children ages 5 and 3.

In response to the circuit court’s ruling, Jacki Beal, the children’s mother, appealed. 

The circuit court noted in its ruling that there was a “significant and troubling amount of conflict between the parties.” Evidence revealed that Beal created obstacles during parenting exchanges and refused to communicate or appear at exchanges, the court noted in the opinion. It also revealed she hadn’t encouraged a relationship between her children and their father. 

The court noted Doyle's testimony that Beal refused to allow him to visit the children on Father’s Day in 2016 and her interference with his parenting time by calling the police for unnecessary wellness. 

“The court found that Jacki sought to remove Ryan from the children’s lives,” the appellate court opinion said. “Although Jacki testified that she had recently recognized the error of her ways and was open to communicating and cooperating with Ryan, the circuit court was not convinced.” 

The evidence also revealed that Doyle would be more likely to make decisions in the children’s best interests, the appellate court noted.

In its decision to affirm, the appeals court noted that “the trial judge is in a better position than we are to observe the personalities and temperaments of the parties and assess the credibility of witnesses.” 

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Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court St. Clair County Circuit Court