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Child custody: Spokane son likely to be reunited with father

Parents from Spokane, Washington, understand that staying away from their child is never easy and is painful. However, many parents do not have a choice since court rulings forbid them from coming in contact with their child, unless they satisfy certain criteria set by child welfare agents. In some cases, authorities will not award child custody to a parent who has not met all criteria.

Recently, there was a report of a deported father who is seeking custody of his 8-year-old son. The battle for custody goes back to 2006, when the father was first deported. In 2009, the child was taken from his mother's custody. In the same year, the father won sole custody of the child. In June 2010, the father suffered hallucinations and was hospitalized. Meanwhile, custody of the child was awarded to his mother's parents. The father agreed to enter a drug-treatment program and a visitation plan was formulated.

In Oct. 2010, the father was arrested for driving under the influence during a visit with the child and was deported for the second time. At that time, the grandparents sought full custody of the child. The father returned from Mexico in Feb. 2011 and resumed drug treatment and supervised visits with his son. Nonetheless, during a visit with his son in Oct. 2011, the father was arrested by Homeland Security and was deported for the third time.

The father could not appear in court during the May 2012 hearing, and Chelan County Court awarded child custody to the grandparents. According to a recent ruling by the Court of Appeals, the father's right to child custody cannot be taken away since he has fulfilled all criteria set by the welfare system. The child has been taken from his grandparents and placed under state care.

In Washington State, this is one of those cases where the circumstances of a parent are such that gaining child custody is complicated. In this case, the father may be able to use the existing laws to his benefit. The father has demonstrated that he is drug-free and leading a stable life. Rulings such as the one by the Court of Appeals in this case are rare but not impossible if approached from the correct point of view.

Source: The Wenatchee World, "Appeals court rules for deported dad in child custody case," Jefferson Robbins, Dec. 6, 2013

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