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Undefined time for temp custody order against child's interests

Raising a special needs child can be incredibly rewarding at the same time as it can be incredibly challenging. It's in the name; a special needs child has unique needs in comparison to his or her peers. Some families may call on a grandparent to help under certain circumstances, but does this decision affect parental rights?

In 2009, the mother of an autistic child was granted sole custody over her child. The mother moved to Arizona and lived there for several years. The mother and the child traveled to Ohio, where the maternal grandmother lived, in 2012. What was intended to be only a temporary visit for the child quickly turned into a much longer one when her mother learned of a job opportunity back home.

When the mother flew back for the interview in Arizona, she left the child with the grandmother. While home, the paternal grandfather filed for temporary custody in both Ohio and Arizona. In Ohio, the court granted him temporary custody "until a full and fair hearing may be held."

The mother appealed this decision, and it was this open-ended time duration that factored into the Ohio Supreme Court's recent ruling that the child should be returned to the mother in Arizona immediately. The duration could last for years, noted the court, at a cost to the child due to prolonged absence from the mother during "formative years."

This news source most likely does not contain all of the information that was used to make a determination in this case. Unique circumstances make child custody issues a case-by-case determination every time. Whether it is in court, in front of a judge or in a private negotiation, these decisions require personal attention -- especially when claims are being made across jurisdictions.

Courthouse News Service, "Grandfather Shouldn't Have Won Custody," Jeff D. Gorman, Dec. 24, 2013

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