Should Trial Courts Include Specific Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law In Child Custody Cases ?

In Grantham v. Grantham, 269 Ga. 413 (499 S.E.2d 67) (1998) , however, our Supreme Court concluded that the trial court had found that it was in the best interest of the child that custody be awarded to the grandmother and that the mother was not a fit and proper person to have custody of the child. The Supreme Court concluded that appellate review of the custody order in Grantham was impossible as the trial court's order contained potentially conflicting conclusions of law and no findings of fact to substantiate either one. The Supreme Court therefore vacated the trial court's judgment and remanded the case with direction that the trial court grant appellant's motion for findings of fact and conclusions of law and supplement its current order with findings which would allow meaningful appellate review of the decision. Given the present state of the law in this area, it would seem advisable for a trial court to include specific findings of fact and conclusions of law in similar cases, whether or not either of the parties has requested such inclusion under the authority of O.C.G.A. 9-11-52.