Kelly Brantley, a Houston area mom of two, who became a beauty queen when she was chosen Ms. Harris County, has been reportedly keeping her children from their father Robert Zach for two years, even as he has been suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease, reports Fox 26 Houston.
Brantley went to court to argue that keeping the children away from the father was in the best interests of the children, reports Fox 26. The judge ordered the daughters be allowed to see their father. He further required that the families "mend" their fences. Fox 26 is not clear about what initially caused the rift between the families. No mention of child support history was made.
As it should be apparent, custody and parenting time are a large part of a divorce settlement, and usually the longest lasting. There are different ways to organize a custody arrangement.
There are sole custody arrangements, where one parent takes care of the child most of the time and makes major decisions about the child. There are also joint custody arrangements where both parties take care of the children, with one parent often holding the child for a majority of the time. That parent usually is called the custodial parent. The other parent generally is referred to as the noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent almost always has a right of parenting time or visitation--a right to be with the child, including for overnight visits and vacation periods.
Most of this planning is hammered out in mediation. Fewer than 5 percent of parents have custody of their child decided by a judge.
When parents cannot agree on custody of their child, the court decides custody according to "the best interest of the child."
There are instances where a custodial parent might wish to cut off or curtail a non-custodial parents visitation rights. As the Kelly Brantleys case and the law shows, that is not easy to do. Normally, it will be something like showing up drunk or under the influence of drugs that might cause a court to allow a custodial parent to cut off visitation. And if the parent gets their house in order, then they might be able to return to supervised visitation.
Currently there are many cases in the news about non-custodial parents -- everyone from noncustodial military parents to noncustodial lesbian parents -- trying to sort out some kind of appropriate custody plan.
- Find a Houston area Family Law attorney (FindLaw)
- Lou Gehrig's Disease (National Institute of Health)
- Modification of Custody (FindLaw)
- Mom Alaina Giordano ther Loses Child Custody Case Due to Cancer (FindLaw's Atlanta Family Law News)