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Making The Complex Understandable

Questionable child custody practice leads to bad outcome

Going through a custody battle is never an easy thing for parents, whether in Louisiana or elsewhere. There are some cases, however, that are far more distressing than others. When parents are unable to come to terms and have an overwhelmingly negative relationship, the children at the center of the matter often suffer. Such was the case for one high-profile child custody fight that went on for many years.

The family had four children, all of whom were estranged from their father and had no interest in visiting with him. The case stretched on for six years before things took a turn for the worst. At a hearing, the judge in the case ordered that the children be sent to a special "reunification" program in a state on the other side of the country. Their mother was ordered to go home and prepare the children for a visit to their therapist, where they would then be sent with their father without their knowledge or consent. The mother was told that, if the children did not go with him, she would be arrested.

The children knew that something wasn't right and refused to leave with their father. They ended up being taken to the hospital, where they were finally turned over to their father. They remained there for two weeks, and the visit was not a pleasant one for the children. About a month later, the children were forced to go to the reunification program. As part of their "therapy" there, they were not permitted to see or speak with their mother for nearly a year; they were finally allowed to have visitation with her, and she eventually won back her custody rights.

The two oldest children have now passed the age of 18, and neither have any relationship with their father. They claim that his abusive behavior toward them was the reason that they did not want to see him when they were minors, and not any type of parental alienation. For parents in Louisiana and elsewhere, this story is a terrifying reminder of how far off chart child custody cases can go under certain circumstances.

Source: The Washington Post, "They were taken from their mom to rebond with their dad. It didn't go well.", Cara Tabachnick, May 11, 2017

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