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Medical bias claimed by child custody decision

Child custody disputes in Ohio and throughout our country are typically decided by what the court deems to be the best interests of the child. Of course, people do not always agree as to what is the best situation for a child, and the courts are left trying to decide that from among the parties' child custody claims. Take the case of a North Carolina woman who recently lost custody of her 6 and 11-year-old children to her ex-husband, now living in Chicago. The woman has stage 4 breast cancer, and she believes the trial judge gave custody to the ex-husband solely because she is suffering a life-threatening illness.

After the North Carolina court ruled against her, the mother filed an immediate appeal and asked for a stay of the court order. Last week an appeals court denied her request, and now the North Carolina Court of Appeals has denied it as well. While she can still appeal, the mother must allow the children to live with their father in Chicago pending the outcome. This week the woman announced she was beginning a campaign to change state laws, arguing that a judge should be barred from considering "medical bias" in child custody decisions. Basically, she believes cancer and other medical decisions should not be a deciding factor in these disputes.

While some say the issue of medical problems was overly publicized in this particular case, there also appears to be general agreement among medical professionals that cancer and other medical decisions should not be determining factors in child custody cases. The outpouring of support for the mother in social media sites such as Facebook is notable, with over 21,000 people signing a petition in support of her principles. The North Carolina Appeals courts will now have to decide if a medical bias was unfairly applied in this custody disagreement. The woman at the center of the argument will need to continue to press her case in the courts, at the same time she is battling her cancer. In Ohio, an attorney focused on representing people in child custody disputes may offer some insight and support to a party intent on doing what is best for their children.

Source: The MedCity News, "Cancer mom Alaina Giordano can't keep kids during custody appeal," Frank Vinluan, Aug 15, 2011

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