Many of us have experienced that sudden fear that our children may be taken away from us whether it is because we can’t see our children in a busy place or because of the fear of a custody battle. Unfortunately, this week in the news there have been far too many instances of violence and kidnapping in the news recently.
Last week a Waco man, Stephen Palacios turned himself into Houston authorities. Seventeen years ago after his ex wife was awarded custody he took his son and went on the run. Now the boy is almost 21 yrs old and he has decided to turn himself in. In a statement to the press his attorney Paul Nugent said he (Palacios) never meant to hurt anyone when he abducted his son following a divorce with his wife. (Click2Houston.com)
In national news Colin Bower went public regarding the kidnapping of his children, Noor and Ramsay Bower. They were taken to Egypt in August 2009 by their mother, Miryat el Nady, an Egyptian national who is now the target of both American and international kidnapping warrants, allegedly using false passports after the father was awarded full custody during their divorce. (CBS)
Just today, in Houston Mohammad Goher, 47, shot his two daughters and son as they slept in their beds at their home on Homestead Road near Etheline Drive on Sunday morning. Deputies said the children were 7, 12 and 14. The children were with their father for a visit and reports indicate that the mother is in a battered woman’s shelter. According to the news report by Click2Houston “A friend who knew the father said he was anxious about a custody battle with his ex-wife. Last night (Saturday) he was very upset. He called me and asked me too much, said Muhammad Riad, a friend of the father.”
Dealing with custody disputes:
There are alternatives. Consider other forms of custody such as shared parenting, joint custody, or split custody.
Keep a journal regarding any threats of violence or abuse by the other party.
Contact local authorities when needed.
Obtain protection orders if necessary, for both your safety and the safety of your children.
Consider using a guardian ad litem, assigned by the court to help determine what is best for the child.
Attend counseling or parenting classes offered by the court or through private counselors.
Seek help in dealing with the stress and disappointment that the ending of a marriage can bring and use the many resources available to you to protect both you and your children.
Resources available to families dealing with custody and divorce matters:
Houston Health and Human Services
Harris County Community Services
Community Services and Crime Prevention
Family Services of Greater Houston
Find out more about dealing with custody disputes in Eight Things Every Parent Should Know and Do in a Custody Dispute.