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Maryland officials offered father custody of slain child

Maryland social workers had called the father of an infant boy shortly after the child was born to see if the man could assume custody. Sadly, he was not in a position to do so at the time of the request. However, once his situation had improved, he initiated a child custody fight with the boy's mother, now accused of killing the child. Apparently, the mother also attempted to take her own life at the time of the child's death.

The father now questions why the family law court who presided over case did not listen to his requests for custody. The father had only seen his son about 12 times since he and the child's mother had been in a relationship in 2009. However, he had been seeking custody in a protracted court fight that, according to the father, got quite expensive and took too long.

If a non-custodial father has a legitimate reason to believe that his child is in immediate danger of abuse or neglect at the hands of the child's primary caregiver, he should contact the appropriate authorities.

They may be able to remove the child from the dangerous situation. On the other side of the matter, and as this story illustrates, a non-custodial father may do well to be prepared at any time to take charge of his child on very short notice, even if that means some forethought and sacrifice.

However, for many reasons, Maryland child protection authorities cannot get involved in every case, even when the father's concerns about a child are well-founded. For those situations, the dad may want to talk to a father's rights lawyer about his or her options.

Although a lawyer will be a financial investment and still may not be able to avoid all the delay that is inherent in the justice system, hopefully he or she will be able to guide the father through the custody process efficiently and accomplish the father's goals of protecting his child.

Source: WRAL, "Father of slain toddler blames mother, courts for his death", Sept. 28, 2012

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