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Women's rights activists take issue with abortion testimony

When a couple with children gets a divorce, a child custody arrangement will be determined. Some couples may determine their own workable agreement, in which case a judge only needs to approve it. In other cases, a couple may not agree and a judge can approve a parenting plan proposed by one spouse. A judge also has the authority to make his or her own determination.

When a judge must decide whether a parenting plan is in the best interests of the child, several factors may be considered. These might include how the parents interact, the relationship of each parent with the child, relationships with stepchildren or where each parent lives. What about abortion? Allowance of abortion evidence in a recent child custody case has caused significant controversy across the nation.

The case is currently being heard in a Manhattan court. In this case, the father argued that the mother’s past abortion was relevant to the current custody case. The mother had stated that she did not bring men into her apartment while the children were there. To rebut this, the father claimed that the abortion proves that there was another man there, and that the children were also in her care at the time the procedure took place.

The mother claimed that the abortion testimony was irrelevant, that she had slept with the man, an old friend, at his place and that the children were in the care of her mother when she had undergone the procedure.

When the judge sided with the father, allowing the abortion testimony to be heard, women’s rights activists became involved. The women appeared at the next hearing wearing shirts that had the message “I had an abortion” printed across the front.

Although this case was not heard in Ohio, it goes to show the wide variety of arguments that are made when it comes to proving who should be the custodial parent. What can be considered? What should be considered? Is there a way to keep certain evidence out of the case? These are all questions that an attorney in Ohio can help answer and deal with when it comes to court appearances.

Source: ABA Journal, “Judge allows abortion to be used as evidence in high profile child-custody case,” Martha Neil, Sept. 25, 2013

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