Father acquitted of abuse, seeks custody

In cases of domestic abuse and alleged child mistreatment or neglect, child custody negotiations in Minnesota and other states can quickly become complicated. One case out of regional neighbor Missouri illustrates the challenges that can come when attempting to resolve domestic violence issues and custody decisions. Determining the choice that would suit the best interests of the child can sometimes be extraordinarily difficult.

In this case, a Missouri man was acquitted of child abuse. That man, who was shot by his wife because she thought he caused the child's injury, now stands to obtain increased custody rights. The woman has admitted that she shot the man because she was attempting to keep him away from the injured child and another daughter. Since the mother is in prison, she has been forced to forfeit her custody rights. That 27-year-old woman will serve a three-year prison term for her role in the shooting.

The children's father was not stripped of his parental rights during the child abuse proceedings. At this time, the children's maternal grandfather maintains custody of the two girls, ages 3 and 5. So far, the children's paternal grandparents have maintained a favorable relationship, visiting the two girls with his wife at three-month intervals. The children are also slated to spend some of the summer in Florida with the couple. The girls' father has only seen his children in pictures during the past three-year period.

It appears that the girls' father will begin the legal process to seek full custody of his daughters, but it is unlikely to be an easy road. The girls' grandparents have characterized the proceedings as a "fight," so it seems that they would be unwilling to surrender custody to the man. Ultimately, it is important for the judge and other legal professionals to determine which environment would suit the best interests of the two young children. Their safety is of utmost importance.

www.news-leader.com, "Kleber children could return to father's custody" Katie Lamb, Sep. 27, 2013

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