Missouri father’s eight year long custody battle continues on

For the past eight years a Missouri father has been fighting for custody of his now 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. As of now, even though a doctor has recommended that the children live with their father due to what looks like emotional neglect, it appears that conflicts of interest have been real barriers between the father and the courts.

In this child custody case, not only has the daughter made two abuse accusations about a family member living with her mother, but the son may also be suffering from psychological dwarfism.

Psychological dwarfism is a rare disease where a child does not grow to normal stature due to emotional neglect. As of now, the 11-year-old son is about the size of a 7-year-old. Doctors have told the father that if this continues on, there is a chance the boy will lose 10 inches off of his adult height.

Since 20004, when the mother of the children filed for divorce, the father has been fighting for custody. Originally, the two had joint custody, but when the father moved to Missouri — while remaining very involved in the children’s lives — the mother ended up with primary custody.

But, in March 2007 when the daughter made the first allegation of abuse, the father quickly filed a motion to modify the custody agreement.

Originally, the children were removed from the home, and a guardian was appointed. However, about a month later, the children went back to live with their mother, and the family member was also allowed in the home with a “safety plan” in place.

Unknown to the children’s father at the time, there appeared to have been a conflict of interest in the case, as the judge was on a church board with the mother, and the guardian had also even recommended her for a job.

But, in April 2011 the daughter alleged another incidence of abuse, and the father once again sprang into action trying to obtain custody of his children.

As of now, due to the alleged conflict of interest, the original judge recused himself from the case, and the original guardian has also since been removed.

A trial to modify the child custody agreement is set to begin on Friday, and the father is hopeful that the courts will finally listen to the doctor’s recommendation to remove his son from his ex’s home, and to take his daughter out of a living situation where there are allegations of abuse.

Source: Tulsa World, “Dwarfism linked to neglect: Oklahoma child’s health at the center of custody battle,” Ziva Branstetter, Feb. 3, 2012

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