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Minnesota case highlights custody issues for sick children

One of the hardest parts of the divorce process can be coming to terms with limitations on child custody and visitation. Parents and children generally want to stay together and letting go can be tough. With the holidays upon us, many parents face the urge to spend as much time as possible with their children.

In cases of parenting time, custody and visitation, judges must consider what is in the best interest of the child. Sometimes that involves navigating a minefield and legal issues and other considerations, as illustrated by an ongoing Minnesota case.

A 12-year-old boy in Jordan has suffered from a serious illness for the past 10 years, getting progressively worse in recent months. When his doctors said there was nothing more they could do, his mother petitioned a county court to prevent his father from removing him from the house for visitation every other weekend.

The biweekly visits were agreed to as part of their original custody agreement but the boy's mother is afraid that moving him could aggravate his condition and accelerate his seemingly inevitable death. His father argues that moving the boy will not make things worse and it is important for him to spend some time alone with his son before he dies.

The court tried to reach a compromise, ruling that the father could have visitation at the boy's grandmother's house, which is closer to his mother's home. But the boy's mother and hospice team are appealing the ruling, arguing that moving him could cause his death. The court could decide to keep the boy at his mother's house and provide alternate arrangements for visits with his father.

A familial dispute can be heartbreaking, especially in such dire circumstances. If you are engaged in a disagreement over custody or parenting time, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney. They can help present your case, whether in mediation or the court room, working toward the best possible result for you and your loved ones.

Source: KARE 11, "Jordan mother petitions son to keep dying son home," Jay Olstad, Dec. 14, 2012

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