Sally Bright

Sally Bright

The Participants Sally Bright asked her husband, John, to move out temporarily due to marital difficulties.

After a brief separation, Sally filed for divorce and received temporary custody of their 14-year-old daughter, Chastity. John’s response to Sally’s divorce petition requested custody and the court ordered that the child have visitation with John every weekend.

Nine months later, the court conducted a final hearing in the divorce matter. Both parties still want custody of Chastity. 

The Facts

Among the facts that came out during the hearing, and are undisputed, are the following:

• Sally will be moving to another part of the country soon to take a job.

• A psychologist that counseled Chastity about her emotional problems testified that Chastity would prefer to stay with her dad so that she doesn’t have to go to a new school and make new friends.

• John has realized that he is gay and has met a male companion who doesn’t live with John presently but someday might.

• Chastity testified that she feels “weird” around John’s new companion.

• John makes $125,000.00 per year and Sally’s new job in another part of the country will pay $35,000.00.

• John has, on several occasions, physically abused Sally, but he never did so in front of Chastity and has never abused Chastity.

• Both parents have been actively, and almost equally, involved in the day-to-day care of Chastity throughout her life.

The Testimonies

There have been two separate testimonies given.

Testimony of Dr. Samuel Stoller. I counseled Chastity at the request of her father, John, who said she was having problems at school since her mother filed for divorce. Chastity clearly wants to stay in the area so she can be with her friends as she moves into high school. Given the stress of

the divorce, I think it’s in Chastity’s best interest that she remains in the safe, secure environment that she is familiar with. Since her mother is moving away, Chastity should stay with her father. The fact that John is gay has no bearing, since studies show that a parent’s sexual orientation doesn’t usually affect his or her ability to be a good parent. 

Testimony of Dr. Frank Edwards. I was appointed by the court to interview the parties and the child and make a recommendation regarding custody. I found that both parents were suitable custodians, but I think the better custodian would be the mother.

Chastity says that she feels uncomfortable aroun d her father’s new companion. I’m not biased

Against gays, but I think Chastity could be teased at school.

Another factor is John’s drinking. He denied having a drinking problem, but Sally says he drinks to excess on occasion.

This could be dangerous, especially if he were transporting the child while intoxicated.

The Judge

After the hearing was completed, the judge said that she was prepared to decide all of the issues except custody. She has directed both of the attorneys to submit a memorandum on the custody issue. The parties are to submit memorandums simultaneously. The judge will review the memorandums, and will then make a decision about custody.


Your first task is to take the role of a legal researcher for the attorney arguing that the mother should have custody. The first memorandum should be written from this perspective.

Your second task is to take the role of a legal researcher for the attorney arguing that the father should have custody.

The second memorandum should be written from this perspective.

In your research for each memorandum, you should check both statutes and cases, keeping in mind the facts of the case.

Wait until after you have completed the CALR, Part 1 and Part 2 study units to begin your research for the Legal Writing 2 Project (00803500). You’ll need the skills you have learned in the CALR study units to conduct your research.

You MAY use Lexis to perform your research for this project; however, you MUST use at least one source other than a source obtained through


Grading Criteria for This Projec
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