Child custody and unfit parents

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in child custody on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Child custody is a common point of contention between separating Missouri parents. Although one parent may deem the other unfit for child custody, courts generally prioritize the child’s best interest by looking at the entire picture: a parent’s financial situation and mental stability are often points of focus. However, when a parent has lost child custody in the past, or has inflicted abuse toward a child, legal action may be the next step.

In the unfortunate recent case of Savannah Leckie, an Ozark County girl murdered by her mother, child custody appeared in the wrong hands. Originally having lived most of her life with adoptive parents in Minnesota, the 16-year-old with Asperger’s syndrome then went to live with her biological mother, Rebecca Ruud, in Missouri. The teenager then suffered months of torture and abuse from her mother, who used extreme methods of punishment to control the child. Ruud faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, among other crimes in relation to her daughter’s abuse.

The above situation may not have involved a child custody battle, but when the wrong parent gains custody of a child, a legal battle could ensue. An article from KCUR 89.3 News focuses on the Missouri Supreme Court’s recent debate regarding parental rights. A local mother had lost rights to her daughter’s custody last September after experiencing a previous termination of her right to parent her other children. The mother’s attorneys argued that this decision was in violation of the woman’s fundamental parental rights; however, the adoptive parents of the twin girls and attorneys for the state stressed that the woman still struggled with mental issues and had failed to exhibit improvement in court.

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