When children get caught in the middle of a divorce, it can cause long-term damage to them and to your relationship with them. If one parent takes his or her anger out on a child, the results can be tragic.
An Extreme Case of a Child Getting Caught in the Crosshairs
In September 2017, the case of Jude Sandberg made national news when his mother murdered him and then committed suicide. Two years ago, a judge granted Jude’s mother and father joint custody at a contested hearing.
We are still learning more about the facts, as the investigation into this horrific story continues. However, Jude’s mother, Gina Summers, had apparently continually fought the 2015 custody determination both in and out of court ever since the hearing.
While Jude’s mother may have struggled with extreme and untreated mental health issues, the point is that a child was caught in the middle, and two lives were lost. Certainly, many people struggle with depression, anxiety and many other related issues when going through something as stressful as a divorce. And, many people with long-term mental health issues are perfectly loving parents who would do anything to keep their children safe and sound.
Having a mental health issue, in and of itself, does not predispose someone to doing such a horrific thing to their own child or to themselves. A judge will take extreme behavior into consideration when making decisions about custody, however. Be sure to disclose everything to your attorney.
Don’t Let Things Go This Far: Seek Help
We bring up this story only to highlight an extreme case in which one parent took her and her child’s life to avoid sharing custody with the father. If you have an abusive, unstable or vindictive spouse, we encourage you to seek professional help. Do not allow your child or children become victims.
Law Changes or Not, Be Proactive
Jude’s case is sparking additional conversations about the standards for awarding custody to parents. No one is sure how the legislature will approach the discussion or if anything custody laws will change in light of this situation.
As experienced family law attorneys, we encourage you to do what you can to protect your children. Take them out of heat-of-the-moment disputes with your spouse. And understand that your child is better off having a relationship with the other parent, as long as there is no danger to the child.
Reach Out to a Lawyer Today
We recognize that divorce is not a black-and-white situation. Additionally, sharing custody is not always easy or pleasant for the parents. Things can get increasingly challenging in situations of actual or alleged abuse.
If you are concerned about your children’s welfare during or after your divorce, reach out for legal help. We will do our best to protect you and your children and obtain the best possible outcome.