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Extended family sometimes must step into child custody cases

In standard divorce cases with children involved, custody is a matter that is discussed and then determined by the courts. Child custody presents a more complex issue when the matter is not an issue of divorce but of parental crime.

A Cape Coral resident was taken into custody last month after his release from a hospital. He had been treated for a self-inflicted gunshot. The man's wife died at the scene. The man is expected to be charged with second-degree murder for his wife's death.

The couple had a 9-year-old child, who was inside the residence at the time of the shooting. The boy was not injured in the incident. The child is now in the care of unnamed family members. Althoughthe father has been arrested, it may take quite some time before the case goes to court.

In child custody cases, disputes are often between the mother and father of the child or children involved. In a situation where one parent is deceased and the other is facing charges for the death, custody can become an issue for the relatives of children involved. While the source does not state the relationship to the child in question, he could be in the care of grandparents, an aunt or uncle or other relatives.

In order to obtain permanent custody, a caregiver needs to receive a court order for the custody of the child concerned. In some cases, there may be no contest between family members. At other times, relatives may fight for custodial rights. When this occurs, it is up to the court to determine the best interests of the child involved. 

Source: The News-Press, "Cape Coral man released from hospital, charged with wife's death," Jackie Winchester, Dec. 19, 2013

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