Are All Deprivation Actions Between Parents Custody Matters ?

In In re M. C. J., 271 Ga. 546, 549 (523 S.E.2d 6) (1999), the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed our decision and overruled In the Interest of W. W. W., supra; In the Interest of M. A., 218 Ga. App. 433, 434 (461 S.E.2d 600) (1995) (holding that all deprivation actions between parents are prima facie custody matters which must be brought in superior court); and all other cases relying on In the Interest of W. W. W. and In the Interest of M. A. for the propositions stated above.

The Supreme Court held that all juvenile actions brought by one parent against another are not prima facie custody cases and all such actions need not be filed in superior court.

In re M. C. J., supra. the Supreme Court explained that the only "custody cases" juvenile courts should not entertain are deprivation proceedings brought by a noncustodial parent to obtain custody from a custodial parent. Id. at 548.

In reversing the decision as to jurisdiction, the Supreme Court remanded the case so that we may consider the remaining substantive issues in the case.

The remaining issues are: whether the children are deprived when they are well cared for by the mother and her family; whether termination is in the best interests of the children; and whether the trial court erred in basing its decision on the opinion of a psychologist who did not examine the children.