7-year-old Florida girl in the middle of a child custody dispute

According to reports, a 7-year-old girl is in the middle of a complex custody dispute involving her maternal and paternal grandparents. Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that the child custody litigation surrounding the girl stem from allegations of child abuse against her custodial maternal grandparents.

To further complicate matters, the 31-year-old father of the girl is a death row inmate who was convicted for murdering the mother of the girl and her boyfriend in 2007. The father still has parental rights, but after allegations of abuse came to light, he sought to have his 7-year-old daughter live with his mother. In addition to child custody litigation, the Florida Department of Children and Families is conducting an investigation into the alleged physical abuse of the girl. Allegedly the 7-year-old stated that her maternal grandfather hit her in the face with a chair. The maternal grandparents have denied the allegations, but presently the 7-year-old is with her paternal grandmother. Prior to this latest arrangement, the paternal grandmother only had visitation rights and took care of the girl one day a week, and every other weekend.

The maternal grandparents who originally had custody of their 7-year-old daughter have filed paperwork to reclaim custody of her. Furthermore, even though there is no established relationship between the 7-year-old and a cousin of hers, the cousin is seeking visitation rights.

Clearly, this case is complex and emotional for all those involved. When it comes to complex child custody cases, where emotions are likely to run high, it is extremely important for parties to have all of the right information about the available options to ensure that all facets of the case can be analyzed and the right legal strategy adopted for the best results. It is important for all the parties involved to work in the best interest of the child, and do everything they can to amicably resolve their differences.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal, "Custody battle spawned from death penalty case moves forward," Tony Holt, March 14, 2014

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