As many parents going through a divorce in St. Clair County know, child custody issues are some of the most difficult and emotional parts of divorce. It is more than just spouses going their separate ways, but parents fighting to remain in their children’s lives. In some situations, it is not just parents who are trying to get custody, but also grandparents. And, in some of the worst custody battles, one party will take the children and keep them from the other parent.
A recent child custody case has finally ended after more than 19 years. A woman has found her son after he was taken by his grandparents across state lines. After nearly two decades the mother has had some contact with a son that was taken from her right after she was awarded custody.
In 1994, the mother and the boy’s father were divorcing. The father had basically abandoned his son, and so it was the boy’s paternal grandparents who were asking the court for custody. Though most states would automatically grant custody to the mother if the father was relinquishing custody, the state was concerned that the mother had a few developmental disabilities. Believing that she would be unable to properly care for the child, they awarded temporary custody to the grandparents.
By the time the mother had found a job and remarried, the court was ready to give the child back to the mother. The grandparents then took their grandson out of the state and started using assumed identities.
This is an extreme case and one that is unlikely to happen to many people in St. Clair County. It does show, however, just how upsetting and desperate some child custody cases can get.
Source: Star Tribune, “After 19 years, Indiana mother finds her son in Long Prairie,” Mary Lynn Smith, Jan. 11, 2013
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