A father in the middle of a child custody dispute with his wife over their 5-year-old son posted a listing on Craigslist that offered his son for sale. The boy’s father, Raymond Lawrence Lee, pretended to be the boy’s mother saying:
“I’ve had him now for five years. I’ve somewhat abused him, but I cannot control myself or him… I have mental problems. DCF (Florida Department of Children & Families) won’t remove him. His father lives in California and has no contact with him. I don’t make enough money to support him and myself.”
Lee then submitted a second posting, this time pretending to be his 5-year-old son, saying, My mother is a drunk and she beat me.”
Lee and the boy’s mother have been in an ongoing child custody battle over their son since 2002, when moved Lee back to California. Both Lee and the boy’s mother have accused one another of being unstable and unfit to parent the boy. San Diego Police are investigating Lee, in regards to the postings, and he could face criminal charges for the posting.
In California, if parents cannot decide who will have physical and/legal custody of a child, a judge will make that decision for them.
When deciding custody issues, most courts will use the “best interests of the child” standard.
What the best interests of a child are in a given situation depends on many factors, including:
· The child’s age, sex, and mental and physical health.
· The parent’s mental and physical health.
· The parent’s lifestyle and other social factors, including whether the child is exposed to second-hand smoke and whether there is any history of child abuse.
· The emotional bond between parent and child, as well as the parent’s ability to give the child guidance.
· The parent’s ability to provide the child with food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
· The child’s established living pattern (school, home, community, religious institution).
· The quality of the child’s education in the current situation.
· The impact on the child of changing the status quo.
· The child’s preference, if the child is above a certain age (usually about 12).
Assuming that none of these factors clearly favors one parent over the other, most courts will like grant custody to the parent who provides the most stable relationship and who is most willing to nurture their child’s relationship with the other parent.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, a family law attorney can assist you. Sagaria Law, P.C. represents clients in child custody matters in Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and Monterey County. We also represent clients in child support, child visitation, divorce, and other family law-related matters. Contact Sagaria Law, P.C. for a free consultation.
Child Custody Battle Erupts Online, Pensacolanewsjournal.com, December 1, 2006
Related Web Resource:
Child Custody and Visitation, Nolo.com
Custody and Visitation, California Courts: Self-Help Center