Earlier this spring, our blog reported on a very controversial family law case in North Carolina where a district court judge denied primary custody to a woman who is currently suffering from stage four breast cancer.
According to the judge’s order, Alaina G. was denied primary custody of her two children in part because “the course of her disease is unknown” and “children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the non-ill parent.”
As a result of the decision, Alaina G.’s two children were required to move to Chicago to live primarily with their father.
In recent developments, it appears that Alaina G.’s preliminary efforts to stop this move from occurring have been unsuccessful.
Just last week, the Supreme Court of North Carolina affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals of North Carolina denying Alaina G.’s request to temporarily postpone the custody award to the father until her appeal is decided.
Currently, Alaina G.’s stage four breast cancer has metastasized to her bones. However, she receives monthly treatment from her physicians in Durham, North Carolina, who have described her illness as both stable and not spreading.
She was understandably disheartened by the decision of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.
“In the wake of this legal decision, my children and I now must grieve the pending loss of each other,” she wrote.
Interestingly, even though the children were ordered to move to Chicago to live with their father, Alaina G. and her former partner will still share custody. However, unless she eventually leaves Durham, she could be limited only to visitation time on the weekends and holidays, something she can ill afford due to her limited resources and weakened physical state.
She will now pursue a full appeal of the family court judge’s decision.
It is worth noting that family courts can generally consider the physical and/or mental health of parents when making custody determinations. However, legal experts find Alaina G.’s case worrisome since it seemed to determine that limited contact with a sick but otherwise functioning parent was in the best interests of the children.
Stay tuned for updates from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties involved.
The Chicago Tribune “NC mom with cancer decries court’s custody ruling” Aug. 12, 2011
ABC News “Judge cites mom’s breast cancer in denying custody of children” May, 10, 2011