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Mother's actions reinforce court decision in child-custody case

Divorce often brings bitter feelings and ugly behavior. Sometimes these feelings and behaviors result in disputes that determine child-custody arrangements and reinforce initial court decisions.

In upstate New York recently, the mother of three children lost her appeal of a court order that gave their father sole custody of the children. In addition, she was slapped with an order that forbids her from posting anything on one her children's Facebook page.

On Valentine's Day, a state appellate court -- citing a "pattern of unsuitable behavior" -- sustained a decision that prevents the mother from having any contact with her children. According to court documents, the mother admitted that she often abused her oldest child in person and by posting on his Facebook page, calling him obscene names. In addition, she had neglected some of her duties as a parent, including attending her son's therapy. The child is known to have mental health issues. The mother also admitted that she often used "physical means" to deal with her oldest child. In this case, the father was granted sole custody of his three children because he was determined to be the one who could provide a positive and nurturing environment for them.

In Pennsylvania, child-custody law generally determines how a child will be raised by divorced parents. The law covers two areas: who has legal custody and the right to make decisions for the child's upbringing and who has physical custody.

Anyone with child-custody issues can learn something from the New York case. It tackled issues about relationships with children and the best interests of children, which are issues that are considered when a court makes a decision in a child-custody dispute.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Mom Ordered to Stop Posting on Kids' Facebook Pages, New York Supreme Court Upholds Decision," Feb. 20, 2013.

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