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Judge grants child custody to state in controverial case

Parents in Miami, Florida, may consider custody issues before, during and after a divorce. Most would not consider child custody an issue when seeking medical assistance for their kids. A case from another state that has garnered national attention came to a controversial turn recently when a judge granted permanent custody of a 15-year-old girl to the state.

According to reports, the judge made the custody decision after close-court procedures. According to the judge, the state made a case that the parents were not fit to retain custody of the girl. A spokesperson for the parents said they were too emotionally upset by the decision to make a statement as of March 25.

The case involving custody of the 15-year-old girl began in early 2013 when her parents brought her to Boston Children's Hospital's emergency room. At that time, staff at the hospital diagnosed her with Somatic Symptom Disorder, a mental illness that results in physical symptoms. She has been under the care of various medical staff and facilities since that time.

The judge noted that his decision was due in part to what he called abusive behavior on the part of the girl's parents to medical staff. The father allegedly threatened a social worker, who had to be removed from the girl's case because of the threat. The judge also stated that medical staff efforts to work with the parents were met with hostility, and he did not believe that the parents were cooperating appropriately.

It's understandable that emotions will run high in any child custody battle, but it's important to maintain a logical outlook and review all options carefully before taking action. As with this controversial case, outbursts and threats in any custody battle could result in less-than optimal legal decisions.

Source: The Boston Globe, "Mass. granted permanent custody of Justina Pelletier" Patricia Wen, Mar. 25, 2014

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