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Man married to convicted child killer wins custody of children

A woman is appealing a recent child custody ruling that allows her ex-husband's wife, a convicted child killer, to help care for the woman's 13- and 14-year-old sons. After a private investigator revealed that her ex-husband was living the woman, the boys' mother took legal action in efforts to remove them from her former husband's custody.

In Maryland, judges take many factors into consideration when determining child custody and may revoke custody if doing so would serve the best interests of the child. In a case such as this, a judge could rule that living in the same house with a known killer endangers the lives of the boys and that the father should not have custody over them.

The father remarried his first wife after divorcing the boys' mother, despite the fact that his first wife had killed the couple's 4 and 8-year-old daughters years earlier, during their first marriage. The first wife claimed that she was temporarily insane due to a reaction to the anti-depression medication Prozac. She was enrolled at a mental institution and was monitored by psychiatric professionals for nearly ten years before being released in 2005.

After learning that her former husband had remarried and was living with his first wife, the boys' mother hoped to bring about a permanent parenting plan change, but the judge who heard her case denied the request. The judge explained that the boys had already spent a considerable amount of time with their father and his new wife, even if their mother was unaware of this. Because there have not been any problems thus far, he reasoned that the current custody arrangement must be adequate.

Source: The ABA Journal, "Mom Loses Custody Battle with Ex, Who is Married to a Child Killer," Debra Cassens Weiss, Aug. 1, 2011.

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