When parents are unable to provide care, many children in New Hampshire are fortunate to have several family members willing to step in. Unfortunately, such a situation can become complicated when the child custody situation involves people in several different states. A recent ruling by one state's Supreme Court illustrates some of these complications.
The case involves three children. According to reports, the father of the three children pleaded guilty to charges that he murdered the children's mother. Following the man's arrest, their maternal aunt moved them to another state. Eventually, she filed for custody in that state.
However, court records indicate that that woman did not inform the court about the charges that the man faced and did not tell relatives of the children's mother of her intent to seek custody. Afterward, the children's maternal aunt sought custody in Alaska, the home state of the children. A judge in that state ruled that Texas, where the paternal aunt lived and filed for custody, had jurisdiction. However, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that decision was erroneous, claiming that even though the judge in the lower court considered the children's current situation, he failed to consider the Indian Child Welfare Act and domestic abuse allegations.
A child custody case can become complicated. Even if there aren't multiple family members who are interested in providing care, an attorney with experience with family law can help extended family members in New Hampshire go through the appropriate channels to seek custody when parents are unable to provide care. In some cases, seeking legal assistance early on can help reduce the possibility of conflict and challenges in the future.
Source: dailyprogress.com, "Alaska high court voids decision in child custody case", March 3, 2017