When a romantic relationship between adults falls apart, it can be very difficult for each partner to deal with their emotions and move forward with their lives. If the couple has a child together, a tense, difficult dispute regarding child custody—sometimes referred to as parental responsibilities—may, at times, to ensue. Disagreements regarding child custody can turn any such situation very ugly very quickly, but the nastiness is most often between the adults. Sometimes, however, a parent can become completely overwhelmed and the results may be tragic.
Last month, a 30-year-old woman from Oceanside, California, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and willful cruelty to a child. The victim was her 21-month-old son who, according to prosecutors, was held down in the bathtub two separate times just a few minutes apart. The first time, court records indicate, the boy lost consciousness, and the second time, he died. Last week, the mother was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison, and she will not be eligible for parole until at least 2035.
California prosecutors said that the woman’s actions were motivated by spite and anger toward the child’s father, a United States Marine sergeant who, just before the child’s death, was fighting for custody rights regarding his son. Prosecutors pointed out that within days of the father’s formal request for custody, the mother reported him to police saying she suspected that he was abusing the child. Three separate agencies investigated and found the claims groundless. The father was granted shared custody rights last month, and the next day, the child was dead.
Controlling Your Emotions
Thankfully, very few battles over parental responsibilities end with such catastrophic results. Many, however, do leave emotional and psychological scars on children that could last a lifetime. Children are easily caught in the middle when divorcing or unmarried parents cannot put their differences aside and work together. Tension and unease are to be expected, but outright hostility and bitterness are not conducive to a healthy parenting arrangement.
An experienced Kane County family law attorney can help you keep your emotions in check, even in the midst of the most difficult disputes regarding child custody and parenting time. A lawyer can provide a layer of insulation between you and the other parent, which can limit unnecessary contentiousness and keep the focus on serving the best interests of your child. To learn more, contact Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.