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Posts Tagged ‘custody’

      Wow, I can’t imagine, as a parent, how horrifying it would be to me to have one of my daughter’s move in with someone who was suspected of killing not one but possibly two of his wives.   However, that is the exact scenerio that Ernest Raines, father of Christina Raines-Drew Peterson’s fiance, is facing this week. 

       Ernest Raines is extremely worried and concerned that his 24 year old daughter has moved out of the residence that she shared with her previous boyfriend, and moved in with Drew Peterson the former police sergeant from Chicago. 

        Christina and Drew became engaged in December after becoming involved with one another approximately four months previous to that.  Drew has been considered a suspect, by many, in the  suspicious disappearance of his fourth wife Stacy at the end of October 2007.  Drew’s third wife , died under mysterious circumstances, in 2004, and that death has recently been classified as a homicide. 

        It is no wonder that Christina’s father Ernest is seriously concerned about his daughter’s well being considering the fact that 2 of Drew’s 4 wives have either gone missing or died under questionable circumstances.  Not only has Christina moved into Drew’s home; but , so have her very young children, ages 4 and 5. 

        Christina is a legal adult and is free to make her own choices regarding her personal life; even if she doesn’t believe that she is in some kind of danger.  However, she is the parent of two young children and it’s not good parenting to put them in the middle of a situation where they could possibly be in danger. 

          Parents across the nation have had their children removed from their custody for lesser reasons.  There are reports that the two young children’s birth father, Tony Yauk,  has allegedly been asking authorities how he goes about getting custody of those children.  If  I were in his position…I would do the very same thing. 

          If you are a parent who perceives that your children are in danger and you do nothing…that is considered failure to protect.  I would ask Christina if her relationship with Drew Peterson is worth the possible loss of custody of her biological children?  Shouldn’t your own flesh and blood come before any romantic relationship?  If  her relationship with Drew is so important to her …maybe she should consider relinquishing custody to the father of her children; or, maybe even to her own parents or relatives; if they are appropriate people to be caregivers.

         You also have to wonder about a woman who would start a relationship with a man who is 30 years older than her; who has also been the subject of much speculation regarding previous relationships.  How do you put those concerns aside and consider becoming his 5th wife and move your children into that environment?  What needs, of Christina’s, are being met by being romatically involved with Drew Peterson?  Why would Drew Peterson want more attention drawn to him after all of this time of scrutiny from the authorities and the media?

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     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

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       Today news reports say that scientific data collected from the suspect in the murder of Arkansas anchorwoman Anne Pressly confirms the investigator’s belief that the suspect, Curtis Lavell Vance, is guilty of assaulting her and murdering her.  The DNA that they collected from Mr. Vance is also linked to another woman’s rape in April.  Investigators allegedly are 110% convinced that they have the right person in custody!  You have to be pretty sure of someone’s guilt to make that kind of statement.  The authorities must have plenty of evidence to make such a claim…the rest of us will have to wait for that information to be released during a trial of the suspect to have complete understanding.

         Anne’s parents have been speaking out during the six weeks since her murder.  Today, they said that there is evidence that she was also sexually assaulted.  They may want to be careful about what information that they put out for public consumption; they don’t want to give ammunition to the defense of the person who is finally brought to justice for the murder of their daughter.  

       After all, if they get a conviction they will not want it to be overturned on a technicality…they will want that person to pay for murdering their daughter.  Still, in all honesty, it must be extremely difficult to keep quiet when every fiber of their being is probably are calling out for the whole story to be heard and to get justice.  Their emotions as Anne’s parents must be terribly powerful; I know it must take tremendous courage to look upon his face and not want to get revenge.  I know they are Christians…however, their human emotions are subject to extreme ups and downs just like anyone else.   Peace to those who knew her and loved her; and, to the woman who was assaulted in April. 

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      Rumors have been making the news for a long time about the health of the marriage of Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie.  They have denied trouble whenever the subject came up…but…the old saying…where there is smoke there is fire stands because they have comfirmed that the couple has agreed to divorce one another.  As always…privacy has been asked for.  More than likely…that will not happen; when infamous couples declare seperation or divorce…it only creates more curiosity.

      Madonna, the material girl of old, has always commanded a large amount of publicity.  Guy Ritchie has been along for the ride since their marriage back in 2001.  It is difficult for any relationship to thrive under that kind of spotlight.  No divorce is easy and dividing up possessions, money and custody time is going to be compounded by the fact that Guy is a Londoner…and Madonna, before the marriage, was a resident of the United States.  For those of you who have gone through a divorce and had to work out visitations and custody times…imagine doing it from one country to the next.  Of course, that is assuming that Madonna would consider moving back to the states after the divorce.  At the moment she is on a tour.

        Madonna’s brother Christopher Ciccone wrote a book earlier this year about his relationship with Madonna.  Christopher alludes to the fact that he believes that Madonna’s husband Guy came between their sibling relationship and their professional relationship.  Christoper was a designer and coreographer for several of her musical tours.  I wonder if they will be able to repair their relationship after this marriage has ended.

       It is the children that will have to do the most adjusting through this situation.  Money doesn’t change that fact; children always suffer the most in a divorce or seperation.  Madonna has three children, Lourdes, Rocco and David.  Lourdes is from a previous relationship to the marriage…Rocco is Guy’s son and David is both of theirs because he was adopted from Malawi during their marriage.  It is sad for them most of all.  Adults make their own choices about such matters.

        In any case, best wishes to all…peace and love to all parties…but, i imagine it will take some time for the fireworks to dim before it is all said and done…these situations take time and energy to resolve.

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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         Can this story end on a positive note, please?  I am tired of hearing of these poor children who are taken by a parent and something really horrible happens to them; or, they just disappear.  All over the news this week we have heard about a man who took his seven year old daughter by force, from a supervised visit.

        The man’s name, you ask?  Well, i wish I could tell you for sure.  He has many names from the sound of it.  He has used the alias’ of Clark Rock, Clark Rockefeller, among other names.  He has allegedly implied that he was related to the Nelson Rockefeller line.  He appears to have been living the golden life of priviledge; now he is just a ghost.  He and his wife Sandra Boss divorced and she had custody…he got supervised visitation.  He allegedly assaulted and injured the social worker who supervised the visit; and, he took the child.  He has escaped, and the authorities have issued a federal kidnapping warrant for his arrest.  (more…)

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      News today was announced that Britney Spears and her ex-mate, Kevin Federline have agreed to a custody agreement that is going before the court, for a judge’s signature to become official.  Kevin Federline will get sole custody of the two boys that he and Britney had together; Jayden James and his older brother Sean Preston, once that document is signed by court officials.  (more…)

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