Toddler Tragedy

Today I heard that a man in the middle of a custody battle with his estranged wife killed his three year old son and himself by plunging off a building. It occurred during the father’s visitation with the child.

Visitation is always a tough issue for both mothers and fathers. In this case, there was a December 18th order granting pendente lite custody (fancy legalese for temporary custody) to the mother.

Custody matters can be very stressful for everyone involved. People worry about what the other person might do with or to the child or who the other parent will expose the child to. The mother in this case had also previously filed an order of protection against the father, which expired in October. Apparently the father had unsupervised visitation. The outcome was tragic.

As a divorced parent, I can understand the fear a parent feels when their child is not with them. You have no control over where your child is, who they are with, or what they are doing, or even what they are eating! What makes it even more difficult is having very young children involved, because they can be incapable of explaining potential problems like abuse. Not knowing all the facts, it’s hard to figure whether or not this could have been prevented. However, we need to stop these situations from occurring. We need to look at orders of protection before expiration and carefully review them before they expire. We also need to carefully look at supervised visitation. The bottom line is a three year old child unnecessarily died and safeguards need to be put in place so that this never happens again.

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Stephanie Ovadia is a practicing attorney, radio personality and mother of eight children. Stephanie's areas of practice include entertainment law and personal injury. She received her B.A. in political science from SUNY Binghamton and her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law.

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