Unusual circumstances often demand unusual measures.
A father allegedly murdered the mother of his three children – and then killed himself, leaving their children orphaned.
Now, what happens to the kids?
Grandparents on both sides are ready, willing and able to take the children in. And initially agreed to shared physical custody, with the kids shifting from one home to the other every three days. (Florida calls this rotating custody.)
But the oldest boy found this disruptive and wanted to stay in the school where his paternal grandparents lived.
So, what’s a court to do in this tragic situation?
On a strictly temporary basis, the presiding court continued shared physical custody, but modified the schedule. Now the kids will be with the paternal grandparents during the week and with the maternal relatives in Vermont on the weekends.
This unorthodox and not-so-easy timesharing arrangement reportedly took family members by surprise.
The maternal relatives plan to seek permanent, primary custody of the children. Among other reasons, they reportedly felt they could better counter the domestic violence influences of the children’s father.
Read more in this [Glen Fallsl, NY] Post Star article: Families clash over custody – Dawn Roberts’ children set to live with parents of her apparent killer.
A Georgia man is on trial for aggravated battery and cruelty to a child for allegedly circumcising his two year old daughter. Female circumcision is said to be a widespread ritual in the man’s native Ethiopia.
The man’s defense reportedly is that his wife did it … for advantage in their pending divorce and child custody case.
The man’s wife allegedly sought sole custody of their daughter, with visitation by the father to be supervised.
While some parents will stoop to almost any tactics against the other parent to gain a perceived legal advantage over them, torturing their children for that purpose is, thankfully, comparatively rare and extreme in family court.
Read more in this First Coast News [Brunswick, GA] article: Father Testifies in Circumcision Case.
Parental rights of unwed fathers generally vary according to the paternity laws of the various states.
But the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law, provides additional legal protections to biological fathers and their tribes before a child of American Indian heritage may be adopted out.
In addition to any notice which may be required to be given to the biological father, notice must also be given to the official representatives of the appropriate tribe. And the tribal entity has jurisdiction over any child of American Indian heritage.
A Mormon church-affiliated adoption agency reportedly recently facilitated an adoption of a baby whose biological father turned out to have been of Navajo heritage.
The Navajo Nation claims that the agency never contacted them, although the agency allegedly was aware that the baby may have been of Navajo heritage.
When the biological father learned that he had a child who was up for adoption, he filed a petition for custody of the baby. His petition was denied, however.
Read more in this Salt Lake [UT] Tribune article: Navajo Nation disputes adoption.
As Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws to a close, it is an ideal time to identify and embrace global strategies to “combat” domestic violence.
That was the assignment taken on by Violence against Women, an international conference spearheaded by the Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence Against Women. The conference drew 500 participants from 40 countries.
The conference participants isolated five pre-conditions which must be satisfied before we can hope to eradicate domestic violence worldwide:
- widespread buy-in to the fact that domestic violence is real and pervasive
- social re-classification of domestic violence as a societal problem
- social response must be coordinated and consistent across agencies
- awareness must be raised across nations and across society within them; and, in order to achieve all of the above,
- funding must be dramatically expanded
Read more in this CCNMatthews article: Conference on Violence Against Women Wrap-Up: Five Conditions to Move Forward.
An Ohio woman has lost custody of her 6 year old son.
The reason: she smokes cigarettes.
Now, mother and son are separated by 1,000 miles.
And news of this surprising case has spread to distant shores such as Scotland.
The mother in the case testified that she never smoked near her son or in their home.
There was no indication that the boy suffered from any special sensitivity or unusual reaction to cigarette smoke.
The mother used to be a nurse and alleged that she only took up smoking during her divorce – and has since quit.
The mother reports that she plans to appeal to the state’s highest court.
Read more in this Daily Record [Scotland] article: MUM LOSES CUSTODY OF SON, 6 BECAUSE SHE’S A SMOKER.
Worldwide, domestic violence still occurs with staggering frequency, according to a World Health Organization study which was published in a British medical journal.
Interviews of 25,000 women at 15 sites in 10 countries revealed that 50% to 75% of women at six of the sites had been victims of moderate to severe domestic violence.
At 13 of the 15 sites, more than 25% of the women had been victims of domestic violence in the past year.
Overall, women faced greater danger of violence from intimate partners than from strangers.
One-fifth to two-thirds of study subjects reported that they had never spoken of the abuse they had suffered before the study.
At all of the sites, controlling behavior (tracking a partner’s activities and associates) was linked to abusive behavior.
This first global study of domestic violence is considered an important step in combatting it on a worldwide scale.
Read more in this International Herald Tribune article: Study exposes extent of abuse of women.
Last month, approximately 60 retired and active service members mounted challenges in a federal appellate court to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act on constitutional grounds.
The statute withstood attacks on due process, equal protection and discrimination grounds as well as an argument that it impinged on Congress’ right to raise and support armies.
Among other things, the Act provides for the division of military pensions by state divorce courts.
Read more in this Honolulu Advertiser article: Ex-spouse benefits act unyielding.
I previously posted Undocumented Immigrant Mother Arrested Before Child Support and Custody Agreement Signed With FatherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Representation by Attorney for Immigration Agent.
An Indian River County, Florida court has now awarded primary residential custody of the unmarried couple’s two year old girl to the father, a reportedly convicted drug offender who allegedly still abuses drugs.
The mother also alleges that the father had a history of domestic violence toward her.
Now, the mother also faces deportation following the loss of custody of the daughter she had been raising, thanks, reportedly, to the instigation of the father of the baby.
The mother will likely be allowed to exercise some visitation, in her native Uruguay.
The law requires that the ruling as to which parent will be the primary residential parent be made so as to serve the best interests of the child.
It has not been reported whether the court favored the drug-offending father because he would raise the child here in the US, while the mother, as a result of her impending deportation, would, of necessity, raise the child outside the US, probably in her native Uruguay.
Read more about this sad outcome in this TC Palm article: Judge must play King Solomon with Vero Beach child.
A NY mother was recently arrested in Alabama by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force – for kidnapping her own child.
The 5 year old girl’s mother allegedly did not have custody of her.
A custody dispute between parents? Apparently not.
The mother’s parental rights were reportedly terminated by the state, resulting in the child being placed in the custody of a legal guardian.
Whom the mother allegedly assaulted to abduct the child.
The child is now in governmental child protective custody.
Read more in:
A few months ago, a Beijing attorney reportedly came up with the idea of representing “the other women” in family court cases.
So he “reached out” to mistresses with advertising.
And at least a few paramours allegedly responded.
Reaction has not been limited to potential clients though.
The lawyer’s own wife has since filed for divorce.
And the lawyer has also reportedly been subjected to sharp criticism from other quarters as well.
It is unclear whether the lawyer will stick to representing mistresses as a matter of principle – or move on to “safer” legal work.
Read more in this Shanghai Daily article: Lawyer defends rights of mistresses.