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Mother who lost custody due to cancer dies

Rhode Island parents who are fighting for custody of their children will be interested to learn about a mother who lost custody of her two children because she was suffering from a terminal illness.

The 38-year-old mother of two was fighting breast cancer when her ex-husband petitioned a North Carolina court for child custody of the couple's kids, arguing that his ex-wife could not adequately support her children because her cancer treatments made her unable to work.

The judge ruled in the ex-husband's favor and when he found a job in Chicago he moved the children there. A Facebook page describing the situation and the controversial court ruling brought about great support for the mother. Supporters of the woman provided her a place to stay in Chicago so that she could be near her children. She was eventually able to move into an apartment in Chicago that was paid for with donations from her supporters. As the mother grew weaker she moved to her parent's home in Pennsylvania. A judge granted permission for her children ages 6 and 11 to spend the final weeks of life by her side.

Custody determinations focus on what is in the child's best interest. In most cases it is in the child's best interest to maintain a relationship with both parents. When determining the child's best interest courts look at several factors. Some of these factors include the wishes of the child, the age and sex of the child, the need for continuation of a stable home environment and the child's adjustment to their school and community. The physical health of each parent is also a factor that courts will look at in determining child custody arrangements. The controversy surrounding this case, however, may create changes in how courts view such decisions in the future.

Source: NBC17, "Mom battling for custody of children dies from breast Cancer," July 01, 2012

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