Man kills self, toddler in midst of child custody dispute

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Parents who are embroiled in Florida custody disputes may feel tempted to take drastic measures. After all, it can be extraordinarily frustrating to manage child custody battles, especially around the holidays. Sadly, one East Coast man was so distraught about a continued child custody dispute that he killed both his child and himself on Dec. 22. The man was supposed to have met with his wife at 1 p.m. that day to return his 3-year-old son after a three-hour custody visit. Instead, however, he is seen on security cameras throwing both himself and his child from the top of a high-rise building in downtown New York City. The man had apparently known someone who lived in that building on the Upper West Side.

Law enforcement officials say that the child’s mother is suffering extreme emotional distress. She told officers that her husband had threatened to kill their son and himself during previous encounters. The child’s parents were estranged at the time of the incident.

Official reports show that the woman accused her husband of being abusive. Further, the couple had split in August over serious conflicts about money. The physical violence became so severe that the mother and her son were both protected under a restraining order, but that restriction was lifted about three months before this tragic incident.

Parents who are concerned about protecting the best interests of the child may worry about the abusive nature of their ex-spouses or estranged partners. In those cases, family attorneys in Florida can help identify potential safety concerns, drafting child custody agreements that require supervised visits, for example. No child should ever be put in danger because of visitation rights afforded to an unstable parent. A professional consultation with a qualified family lawyer may eliminate the possibility of abuse that could result from a joint custody agreement.

Source: New York Post, “Custody fight ends in father-son murder-suicide from 52nd floor” Jamie Schram, Reuven Fenton and Larry Celona, Dec. 22, 2013

Settlement reached in Wade divorce, visitation to be discussed

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As many NBA fans in Orlando are aware, Dwyane Wade — the longtime icon of the Miami Heat before LeBron James took his talents to South Beach — has been embroiled in a nasty divorce with his ex-wife since 2007, the year he filed. Since then, Wade and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn, have engaged (pardon the pun) in numerous public battles over their relationship and its tumultuous ending.

Money has been central to these debates; in particular the endorsement money Wade gets from a number of sponsors. However, the child custody arrangement for the now-former couple has also been subject to numerous disputes.

Initially, the debate centered around custody. Child custody can be a complex issue in divorce; but many times the splitting couple realizes that shared custody is the best thing for everyone involved. That was not the case in Wade’s divorce, as Dwyane was granted sole custody of the two sons he had with Siohvaughn.

That’s a significant ruling in any custody dispute. Prior to a court ruling on custody, it can behoove both spouses to enter negotiations on the topic. Court rulings, though impartial, are rigid and often lack the details that either spouse is looking for. Once determined, it can be difficult to successfully appeal the ruling. Negotiations between the spouses and their attorneys can result in a more appropriate and personalized custody agreement.

However, in cases where sole custody is awarded, the spouse left out of the equation can take legal action to earn visitation rights.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Dwyane Wade divorce drama ends after settlement with ex-wife,” Chuck Schilken, July 23, 2013