Lisa Clark Gonzalez, the Gainesville woman sent to prison for having sex with and then marrying her son's then-15-year-old friend Adrian Gonzalez, may be one step closer to getting shared child custody rights over the couple's 4-year-old son. The Gonzalezes have been seeking custody since shortly after the child was born, when Lisa was in prison. They were granted visitation rights in September. They also have an 18-month-old daughter.
The December 8 child custody hearing was closed to the press, and the family court judge has issued a gag order on all participants. However, the Lisa Gonzalez's child custody lawyer was able to say that Ms. Gonzalez was "very pleased with the outcome."
Another attorney representing the Gonzalezes said that her clients did not file any motions with the court, so Wednesday's action was presumably filed by the boy's court-appointed guardians.
The lawyer would not say who currently has custody of the boy, but he has been placed with foster parents. After the child's birth, he was placed with Angela Perkins, a one-time friend and co-worker of Lisa Gonzalez. She has been seeking termination of the Gonzalezes's parental rights and custody of the child, claiming they are unfit parents.
Legally, 'Best Interest of the Child' Generally Means Being With His Parents
In Georgia and most other states, child custody decisions are ultimately made in the best interest of the child. However, children cannot be taken from their parents and given to third parties unless the parents are legally declared unfit. The positive result in Wednesday's hearing on the child custody dispute likely means that the Gonzalezes have been told they can regain custody of their son if they successfully address any concerns the court has about their fitness.
Lisa Clark Gonzalez married Adrian Gonzalez in 2005. Although he was underage, Georgia law waives the age requirement for marriage if the bride is pregnant. A day after the marriage, she was arrested and charged with child molestation, statutory rape and enticing a child for indecent purposes. She pled guilty to statutory rape and spent 4-1/2 months in jail, where she gave birth to the couple's son.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Lisa Gonzalez 'very pleased' with outcome of custody hearing," Christian Boone, December 9, 2010