A mother has prevailed in a child custody case in which the father of her two daughters challenged her living arrangement due to the fact that a convicted sex offender was sharing a home with the children. The case has led to widespread outrage in Florida and across the nation. Even so, from the perspective of the mother and her child custody attorney, the case is a precedent-setting win.
The case reached the family’s state Supreme Court after the father made several attempts to gain full custody of the two girls. His concerns are certainly understandable; the man who is now the girls’ stepfather was convicted of molesting his 15-year-old stepdaughter from a previous marriage. In addition, this is not the first time that the mother has exposed her children to a child molester; a man she was previously involved with was convicted of molesting her other young daughter (from a different father than the one who brought the current case.)
When the court looked at the issue, the ruling was based on the fact that there is no law in place preventing a sex offender from possessing custody of a child or living in a home with children. Furthermore, the court found that the father had failed to provide proof that the children were at significant risk of harm simply by living under the same roof as a sex offender. His bid for custody was denied, and if he wants to gain the right to have the girls move in with him, he will need to make a compelling argument to the court showing that his children have been or are in imminent danger of being harmed.
This case has led to outrage across the nation, including in the state of Florida. Many parents find it hard to believe that having two teenage girls living in the same home as a man convicted of molesting a teenage girl who was in that same type of living arrangement does not represent a danger. However, from the perspective of the mother and her child custody attorney, the outcome is indicative of the strong foundation of parental rights that custodial parents are given, including the right to place their children in a wide range of living situations.
Source: nydailynews.com, “Court gives sex offender custody of teenage stepdaughters“, Jason Silverstein, Aug. 21, 2016