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Mother loses child custody modification to dangerous stepmother

It has become an increasingly common concern among Georgia parents about who will have custody of the children in the event of a divorce. While the child's best interest is most often a factor, parents can try to modify child custody orders after they've been adopted. One mother failed in her attempt to modify her child custody order after she discovered her ex-husband had married a woman who killed her children 20 years ago.

Despite an attempt by the woman's ex-husband to hide who he had moved in with, the mother discovered that her children were living with her ex-husband's first wife. The father told his teenage sons to refer to their stepmother as "Mrs. M," but their mother quickly realized that "Mrs. M" was the woman was her ex-husband's first wife.

The first wife had previously been accused of shooting and killing her and the ex-husband's two daughters in 1991. The stepmother claimed, however, that the shooting happened after she had a bad reaction to the Prozac she was on. The jury agreed and she was acquitted and found not guilty by reason of insanity.

After her trial, the stepmother was sent to a California mental health facility for treatment. After she received an unconditional release from the facility in 2005, however, she rekindled a romance with her ex-husband.

The mother of the teenage sons sought to modify her parenting time order when she realized just who her children were living with. The ex-husband apparently said during the modification trial that his first-wife never committed a crime. He called the deaths of his two daughters a "horrible tragedy," but not an intentional crime. Further, he told the court he kept his guns at a friend's house. After hearing the evidence, however, the court decided the mother must continue to share parenting time with her ex-husband.

Source: New York Daily News, "Oregon mom loses fight to keep sons away from stepmom who shot and killed her own children," Gabriela Resto-Montero, Aug. 2, 2011

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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