Deported man fights for custody of children

Thanks to state and federal laws, child custody cases in Minneapolis and throughout the rest of the country are fairly clear-cut. Still, each dispute presents its own set of circumstances that can alter the outcome.

Take an ongoing, out-of-state case for example. A father is fighting for custody of his three boys, even after state authorities deported the man back to his home country of Mexico. The deportation process began when the man was charged for traffic violations two years ago.

The man's wife, who is a citizen of the United States, subsequently took custody of the boys, but since lost her parental rights when she was jailed. Reports did not indicate why the woman is serving time behind bars, but it has left the children in the care of a foster family.

The man is pleading with state authorities to allow the boys to return to Mexico with him, but child-welfare officials claim that he and his wife are not fit parents. They also argue that the man's home in Mexico is not fit for the three boys, citing the fact that it even lacks running water.

On top of the man's living situation, the Department of Social Services in the state has record of six reports for alleged child abuse. One of those reports claimed that the man choked his youngest son, a claim that the man denies. State officials also saw photos where two of the man's sons were sporting black eyes. Their father could not explain the origin of the shiners.

With his wife behind bars, if child-welfare officials take away the man's parental rights, the foster family could adopt them.

While it might seem unfair for child-welfare workers to pluck children from the custody of their parents, they do have the obligation to look out for the children's best interests. If the man is deemed an unfit parent, he may never see his children again - very high stakes for a child custody case.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Deported man tries to win custody of sons in Alleghany," Michael Hewlett, Nov. 19, 2012

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