Child custody battle after NFL player's murder-suicide continues

It has been nearly a month after NFL player Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and then himself. According to reports, their families are now embroiled in a child custody battle over the late couple's 4-month-old daughter.

For Florida NFL fans, the tragic murder-suicide news more than likely generated more questions than answers. No family should ever have to deal with such a situation and have to battle over child custody under such tragic circumstances. Nevertheless, the child custody issue of the late couple's 4-month-old daughter is pitting families against each other.

Shortly after the incident, Belcher's mother received custody of the child, and she filed a legal petition to have herself named as her granddaughter's guardian. However, the child is no longer with her paternal grandmother and presently is with her maternal relatives. Apparently after Belcher's mother temporarily allowed the maternal side to have the child, the maternal relatives ceased all communications with the paternal side and did not return the child. Reports indicate that the maternal grandmother has also filed for temporary custody of the child. The case is set for a hearing.

Families and couples who have faced or are facing child custody issues understand and relate to all the emotions involved. While the situation faced by Belcher's family presents a unique situation, it is extremely important for both sides in any custody dispute to consider the best interests of the child in custody matters.

The reality of divorce and separation is that children will unlikely be able to spend the same amount of time with their parents as they use to. But, where appropriate, parents should put the best interests of their children ahead of everything else and do the utmost to draft a fair and equitable child custody arrangement. For some families, seeking the expert advice on the matter and going through their options may help ease the process.

Source:, "Families of Jovan Belcher, Kassandra Perkins Battle for Custody of Baby Zoey," Hannington Dia, Jan, 7, 2013

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