Unfortunately, countless families in Illinois and states across the country may understand just how difficult it can be to cope with the death of a loved one. And while any loss can be profound, tragedy that strikes families with young children can be particularly difficult to come to terms with. If there is any good that can come from the loss of young parents it's that relatives often prove the true meaning of family in such trying times. For instance, a recently resolved child custody case shows how some disputes are simply a sign of families coming together.
The child custody dispute only arose out of two families' efforts to deal with tragedy the best they could. In December, 2012, a professional football player murdered the mother of his young child before taking his own life. The baby girl was left orphaned and two families were left reeling. And while the sad events of that day cannot be underestimated, two of the young child's relatives soon petitioned to be her legal guardians.
The ultimate decision of who should be granted primary custody of the baby girl is reported to have been based primarily on who provided the best family visitation plan. The case’s ruling probate commissioner found that the cousin of the baby’s mother made the right decision to recommend that she should have primary custody while allowing a set visiting schedule for other relatives. The child’s paternal grandmother, who was also seeking custody rights, recommended splitting time equally between both sides of the family.
As part of their guardianship petitions, both parties also had to describe the prospective living arrangements they planned for the child. And while the commissioner noted both women were suitable caregivers, primary custody could only be granted to one.
Source: kansascity.com, “Cousin of Zoey Belcher’s mother is awarded guardianship of 9-month-old,” Brian Burnes, June 20, 2013