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Dade Legal Aid

Deported man gets Custody of kids for now--complexities Follow

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.

Custody issues can be emotional and sometimes complex. For example, a judge has recently ruled that an illegal immigrant who lost custody of his children when he was deported can be reunited with his children that were recently placed in foster care when their mother was determined to be unfit. The case has been seen as an example of difficult child custody, and other child welfare, decisions authorities are facing following the deportation of a parent which has become increasingly more common.

Deportation is an issue in Florida and throughout the rest of the country. The man illegally entered the country in 2004 and was deported in 2010. He married and had three children with an American woman while living in the U.S. There have been allegations that the father is also an unfit parent. The court wants the father to live with the children for a trial period and following that, it will make its final determination.

The man is currently in the U.S. on a temporary humanitarian visa but the visa will need to be extended for him to remain for the trials period being required by the court.

Custody decisions can be reached by agreement of the parties or determination by the court. When a child's parents are unmarried, the mother will automatically be awarded custody unless the father takes affirmative action to obtain custody. Unwed fathers may face challenges gaining custody if the mother is a good parent. They can, however, work to establish some custody and visitation rights.

To make a custody determination, the court will look to who is the "primary caretaker" of the child. To do so, the court may look to who is most often primarily responsible for performing various childcare activities. If one parent is unfit, either because they have been abusive or failed to provide adequate care for the child, the court will consider that as well. Parents who have failed to contribute to the support of the child, or to maintain regular contact with the child, can also be deemed unfit.

The best interests of the child will also be heavily considered and the court will look at a host of factors to determine what arrangement will best benefit the child's happiness, security, mental health, emotional development and overall well-being.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Deported dad who lost custody to be reunited with his kids," Richard Fausset, Nov. 28, 2012

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