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Child custody and immigration status of the parent

One parent lives in the United States and one parent resides in another country. Who gets custody of the children?

This is a circumstance that is often dealt with in Florida child custody matters. And in some cases, one of the parent is deported for whatever reason, yet a decision still needs to be made as to what would be best for the child in that circumstance.

Such a scenario is occurring in another state located along the east coast. There, the father of three sons was deported to Mexico following a traffic violation, and he has since lost custody of the children. The mother of the child is currently in prison, and the father would now like to regain custody of his children.

Because of the complex nature of this lawsuit, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials and the county where the children reside are all trying to have their say. At least from the perspective of the father, it appears that the county court is trying to terminate the father's parental rights. From the county's perspective, there appears to be questions as to whether the man is a fit father.

Most family law attorneys would like to make the case about what would be in the best interest of the children rather than make a child custody dispute dependent upon a parent's immigration status. This often is a very difficult determination to make, and the final outcome is often dependent upon a large variety of factors.

In all child custody matters, we need to look at a child's upbringing, financial and medical needs, educational concerns, etc. One factor alone should not outweigh other factors when it comes to placement of a child.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Deported man tries to win back custody of sons in Alleghany," by Michael Hewlett, Nov. 20, 2012

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