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Couple has to put in work to regain custody of child

Child custody cases can be complex, and sometimes discouraging. Ohio residents may be aware that on Nov. 28, a homeless couple last reported as living with Occupy Dallas demonstrators returned to court to work toward regaining custody of their infant son. Although they will not spend Christmas living under the same roof, the parents will likely see their son because the judge granted temporary custody of the child to a friend of the parents.

The judge presiding in the case gave the parents special instructions: Over the next month, they must take parenting classes and submit to random drug testing and counseling. The Department of Child Protective Services cited issues of neglect when it took custody of the couple's 9-month-old son earlier this month. A CPS spokesperson said that the baby's living conditions were an issue, as was the mental health of the mother.

The spokesperson also said the couple had previously lost custody of two older children, both of whom have since been adopted by their grandparents. The judge set a status hearing for Jan. 6, 2012, to determine the next steps to be taken. He told the parents that they could continue to visit their son regularly until then.

As Ohio residents can imagine, judges try to make decisions that serve the best interests of the child. There are usually a range of options available to help parents get more involved in their children's lives and hopefully regain custody. A child custody case such as this one shows how the justice system can work with parents to ensure children are able to grow up in a safe, secure, and nourishing environment. The prospect for any parent of having one's child removed from the home is terrifying, and when issues exist, those affected would do well to consult with a family law attorney is experienced in similar cases.

WFAA, "Custody of Occupy Dallas couple's child given to friend," Cynthia Vega, Nov. 28, 2011

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