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Did the judge mishandle child custody issues in this case?

When a family court judge in Texas or any other state is faced with a custody case, he or she is tasked with making a determination that is in the best interests of the child or children at the heart of the matter. Often, that means determining which parent is best suited to provide the bulk of care for a child. In some child custody cases, however, a judge is asked to determine if a child should be removed from his or her home and placed into the care of the state. That can be a devastating set of circumstances for parents, especially when they fear that their child might be in danger while in foster care.

A distressing example is found in the case of a mother and father who lost custody of their 5-year-old twins, as well as an older child who has the same mother as the twins. The children were removed from their home after a judge ruled that they were being neglected, and were witness to domestic violence between their parents. Once in foster care, the older child (the man's stepdaughter) spoke out about sexual abuse she had been subjected to.

That led to an investigation of the stepfather, which resulted in no substantiation of those claims. Meanwhile, one of the twins also began speaking about sexual abuse. This time, it was the foster father who was implicated, and he has since been arrested and charged in the matter. Upon closer examination, the older daughter was not claiming that her stepfather had abused her; it was her biological father whom she implicated.

The family continues to struggle for the return of their children, who remain in foster care. The state has recommended that the twins should be placed for adoption. The judge in the case has been suspended for her role in these events, and this will be her second suspension related to mishandling child custody cases within the same six months. As this child custody case demonstrates, parents who are fighting for the right to raise their children must take aggressive legal action to protect their rights, especially when that fight is against state authorities, whether in Texas or elsewhere.

Source: kentucky.com, "Before suspension, judge put 5-year-olds in foster care. Now foster dad is charged with sexual abuse", Fernando Alfonso III, April 7, 2017

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