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Mother denied child custody for now -- based on neglect

Family can be a great blessing in times of trouble. It can also be the source of that trouble. Not all child custody battles are between the mother and father, whether in Connecticut or another jurisdiction. Understandably, conflict can arise in almost any situation. However, one custody proceeding in another state is a little out of the ordinary.

The child custody and visitation dispute began after the father was shot to death by the child's maternal grandmother, who was convicted and sent to prison for 55 years. At the time of the shooting, the parents were in the midst of a divorce. In a later court proceeding, the judge ruled that the child should have regular contact with her father's parents as a way of perpetuating the connection to her dad. However, when the order was issued in 2010, the mother took her daughter several states away in an apparent attempt to avoid the visitations. 

The now 9-year-old girl has been placed into the temporary care of her paternal aunt as the mother had been detained for contempt for not allowing the grandparents their visitations. The mother was granted visits twice a week with her daughter under supervision. The judge expressed regret that the mother and child are not together as of yet and noted that he would review the case later this month once the mom entered counseling. The paternal grandparents have been given visitation with no restrictions. 

A judge ruled that the mother neglected her daughter by not allowing the paternal grandparents to see the child as ordered. The mother's attorney expressed hope that the issue would be resolved in the future. Connecticut families may not face such extreme circumstances, though every child custody dispute deserves the best possible resolution. The parties involved may each seek to consult an attorney to ensure their child's best interest is served.

Source:, "Judge rules Jennifer Watkins' flight was child neglect", David Blanchette, Dec. 29, 2016

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