A North Carolina woman involved in a bitter child custody dispute over her 11-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son was denied primary custody of her two children last month after a judge determined that her battle with stage 4 breast cancer called into question her ability to parent her children.
The woman was apparently diagnosed with breast cancer back in December of 2007, since which time it has been kept under control, despite the fact that it has metastasized. According to the woman, her husband has turned her cancer into a central issue in the custody dispute, and that this has taken away her right to parent her children.
Last August, the woman’s husband moved to Chicago-600 miles from Durham-for new job and left her with the children. After moving, he requested primary custody of the couple’s children, arguing that it is in the best interests of the children that they stay with him, since he has a job, whereas his wife is unemployed, and her health makes her ability to care for the children more uncertain.
The judge in charge of the case apparently ruled that it was in the best interests of the children that they move in with their father in Chicago. She listed the woman’s health as a important concern, saying that “the course of her disease is unknown,” and “children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the non-ill parent.” The judge also cited the woman’s unemployment.
In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this story.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Mom with breast cancer denied custody of kids,” Julie Deardorff, 13 May 2011.