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Judge tries to correct order in child custody case

Maryland readers may be aware of an unusual custody case in which a convicted rapist received joint legal custody of a child conceived during an assault. The case has sparked outrage across the nation, with many arguing that the rights of the victim and her child should be placed above those of the biological father. The child custody matter has been temporarily halted as the judge in the case scrambles to correct the matter.

The only reason the case went before a court was because the mother filed for financial assistance through her state's Department of Health and Human Services. The state requires that when one parent seeks financial assistance, he or she must pursue financial support from the other parent. In this case, the other "parent" was a man who raped the mother when she was just 12 years of age.

In court, the mother received full physical custody of the child, but paternity was determined through DNA testing. The biological father was also ordered to pay monthly child support in the amount of $346. There is no word on whether he plans to seek any custody rights toward the child, but the ruling certainly opens the door to those types of proceedings.

The judge in the case claims that he was unaware of the history between the parties at the time of the hearing. When he found out, he cut short his vacation to return and officially suspend his order. An additional hearing in the matter is scheduled in the coming weeks.

As this case demonstrates, there are child custody matters that come before courts that fall outside of the norm. Courts in Maryland and elsewhere must be prepared to handle these unusual matters. As for the parties, having solid legal representation can make these matters easier to manage.

Source: mlive.com, "Judge in child custody case unaware father was rapist," Michael Kransz, Oct. 12, 2017

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