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Death row father seeks custody modification after claims of abuse

When neither parent, for one reason or another, is able to care for and raise their child, custody is often turned over to a relative in Sarasota and elsewhere. Although this is often in the best interests of the child so they are able to stay with a family member, in some cases, other relatives may come forward to seek custody, which can result in a custody battle.

The maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother of a seven-year-old girl who had come together to aid in raising and caring for the girl after a terrible tragedy are now on opposite sides of a child custody dispute. According to reports, the girl’s maternal grandparents took over custody because her father is on death row after being convicted of killing her mother. Under the initial agreement, the father’s mother had visitation rights. It was not reported how the original arrangement had been determined.

The original child custody arrangement was changed recently when the Florida Department of Children and Families removed the girl and placed her in the custody of her paternal grandmother. The drastic step was reportedly taken at the conclusion of an investigation that was conducted into allegations of abuse by the girl’s maternal grandparents found evidence to corroborate the claims. In response, the girl’s father filed a request to have his mother granted permanent full custody of the young girl. For their part, the maternal grandparents have denied the claims of abuse and filed a motion to regain custody.

Unless they have given them up or had them taken away, a parent retains their parental rights even when they are behind bars. Working with an attorney is one way to ensure their rights are upheld, regardless of their legal situation.

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

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