Difficult Decisions in Visitation Dispute Involving Dying Boy

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Visitation on Monday, December 17, 2012

The boy’s divorced parents live 22 miles from each. The distance between them was covered easily enough when their 12-year-old son, who lives with his mother, would go to his father’s house to spend every other weekend with his dad.

But things have changed for the family members who live far north of St. Louis. The boy is dying, his doctors say, of a rare neurological disorder. His mother says her son is now too weak to make any journey, even the 22- mile trip to be with his father.

“We don’t know minute by minute if he’s going to be here because things happen so fast with him,” the Minnesota mom told a Minneapolis TV station.

From the age of two, her son has been suffering with a rare neurological disease known as Infantile Neourazonal Dystrophy. In recent months, his has taken a turn for the worse. His mother says doctors have told her there is nothing more they can do.
“His body is completely shutting down,” she told the station.
So he’s no longer hospitalized, she said. He has gone home to die.

But the boy’s father wants to spend time with his son, as he’s allowed to do under terms of a child custody agreement. He wants to move his son, every other weekend, to his mother’s house just 22 miles away from his former wife’s home.

The ex-husband’s mother is a nurse; a factor a judge recently decided was an important part of allowing the man to move his son for visits. A letter from the boy’s hospice team told the judge that the boy should not be moved, however. One of the hospice nurses said that a move could kill the boy, who struggles with fluid build-up in his lungs.

The dad understands that his son is dying, but doesn’t believe the short trips will hurt him.
He says the hospice team doesn’t have the expertise with this particular disease to be making their recommendation. The boy’s mom says she’s willing to let the dad into her home for daily visits with his son. But the dad insists he wants private time with the boy.
The mother says she doesn’t want to stop her son’s father from being a dad. She simply doesn’t want to risk moving and losing her “incredibly ill” son.

She says she would prefer not to fight with her ex, but she feels it’s a matter of life and death for their boy.

Source: KARE-TV, “Jordan mother petitions judge to keep dying son home,” Jay Olstad, Dec. 14, 2012
Our Missouri law firm represents parents in St. Louis visitation disputes.