Most people hope that parents and anyone else involved in the rearing of a child keep the best interests of the child in mind. For an extended family in Baton Rouge, that consideration has resulted in the beginning of a custody battle over two children following the death of the mother and father. The children's maternal aunt has filed a custody claim, and the children's paternal grandparents indicate they plan to file a motion for custody as well.
The children's maternal aunt was awarded custody by a family court judge after her sister was killed. The children's mother was allegedly shot by their father. Police say it looks like the father then killed himself.
According to reports, the children were in the home at the time of the shootings. Their maternal aunt states she was in the home as well. The aunt cared for the children immediately following the incident, say reports. The family law judge also gave the maternal aunt use of the children's home.
The children are age 6 and 3. Court records indicate that their mother, who was separated from their father at the time of the incident, had several protective orders in place. She had accused the man of abusing her. Reports indicate that the mother was lured to the father's home just before the shooting, though no details are released about what caused her to visit him. She had previously filed complaints that he threatened her, including threats that he would kill her.
The children's paternal grandfather said they were surprised at the allegations. He felt his son and daughter-in-law had a good relationship. Friends and coworkers of both individuals have also expressed surprise and sorrow at the event. In regards to filing for custody the grandfather said the children are "still family."
Whether both, one or neither parent is living, child custody cases should take the health and well-being of children in account. When emotions run high and families are dealing with serious issues, as in this case, those seeking custody should remember that children may have healthy relationships with individuals on both sides.
Source: The Advocate, "Custody battle brewing over children orphaned after murder-suicide" Robert Stewart, Jan. 25, 2014