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Child custody and the best interests of the child

A child custody battle is going on in the Florida courts concerning the 5-year old son of singer Mindy McCready. For a number of years McCready's mother has had custody of the child. However, recently the singer took her son from the grandmother's home and only later were the mother and son located by the police in Arkansas.

The child's father has now requested that the child be returned to Florida where the child's legal guardians are located. And though a social service agent in Arkansas would like to have the custody case transferred to Arkansas, a Florida judge has made a determination that the matter should be tried in Florida.

It should be kept in mind that every child custody situation is unique. The one pressing concern behind every custody proceeding is that the best interest of the child be taken into account before any decision as to custody will be made. Deciding whether a parent or guardian is financially well off, stable enough to raise a child or otherwise fit as a parent only matters in context with what would be best for the child.

The assumption may be that the child would best remain with their biological mother. As a general rule no court would like to separate a child from its biological parent without any showing of neglect. On the other hand, a child should be placed in circumstances that assure stability. The uprooting of a child from his home as occurred in the above circumstance might be a red flag alerting the court to problems that may exist.

Without knowing all of the specific facts of this case, it is difficult to determine what the outcome of this custody dispute will be. We can only hope that the right decision will be made based on all the relevant factors.

Source: The Boot, "Mindy McCready's Son to Remain in Foster Care in Arkansas," by Gayle Thompson, Feb. 24, 2012

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