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When a parent dies, custody issues get more complicated

Most of the time, the principal figures in child custody cases are the parents of the children in question. Emotions can run high when parents are pitted against each other when they both want the lion's share of custody.

When one parent passes away, however, the dynamic becomes different -- and sometimes more frantic. Such a child custody case with a connection to Georgia has brought these issues to the fore.

The situation involves the family of a woman from Maryland who was shot and killed by her husband over the summer. The woman had three daughters, each from different fathers, and they were placed with the deceased woman's mother -- the children's grandmother.

The trouble started when the middle daughter, age 13, found her father on a social media site and contacted him to tell him that the girl's mother had died. According to the girl's grandmother, the girl and her father had only met each other a handful of times before, and the grandmother said that she herself had never met him.

The girl called her father, who told her that he was coming to pick her up to live with him. The grandmother -- and the girl, according to the older woman -- objected to this, but when the man arrived from Georgia, state welfare agents permitted him to take the girl to his home, hundreds of miles from the girl's half-sisters.

Every custody matter is different, and an experienced family law attorney can help to make the difference when a serious situation develops.

Source:  WJLA, "Grandmother in custody battle after daughter murdered by husband," Jennifer Donelan, Dec. 11, 2015

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