For parents, there may be no greater pain than the loss of a child. An Alabama father who recently lost a daughter in a tornado is now attempting to modify a custody order to gain custody of his surviving daughter. While the girl’s mother is in the hospital, his battle over child custody has been waged against her family.
While living in another state with their mother, a tornado hit the family’s mobile home, killing one daughter. After burying his daughter, the father attempted to bring his other child home with him, but extended family members intervened. Apparently, while in the hospital, the girl’s mother had transferred guardianship to a member of her family.
A judge in Alabama later granted the father an emergency child custody order. However, he has remained in Nebraska while attempting to regain custody of his daughter. While a custody order should generally hold more merit than guardianship, it is not a guarantee that the judge overseeing the girl’s case in Nebraska will agree with that.
In August, there will be a custody hearing in Alabama, followed by a guardianship hearing four days later in Nebraska. This father has asserted that he will attend both of these court hearings, and has also stated that the ordeal of attempting to bring his child home has left him feeling as though he ultimately lost both of his daughters. Though judges’ opinions may vary state to state, in general, a custody order — such as the emergency order that this father was granted — trumps guardianship papers. When a dispute over custody arises, it is possible to return to court in order to attempt to modify a child custody order and establish permanent, rightful custody in the best interest of the child.