Reading this story reminds me of another case recently (Baby Veronica) where the courts made a ruling that was another attempt at pursuing the social engineering theories that often pass as ‘best interest of the child’ custody rulings. I will link one of them, although I am sure there are hundreds of others. Although on the surface these two cases appear different, in fact, they have one thing in common: Courts over-analysis of the facts of a previous ruling and the subsequent social-engineering changes following from that.
First of all I should clarify my own opinion of courts ruling on custody of children: Less is more. BTW, this is the thinking behind custody not being overturned, no matter the change in circumstances of the non-custodial parent. In other words if a child is already in a custodial arrangement where they are happy, healthy and safe, there is absolutely no reason to look at changing it I repeat: “no matter the change in circumstances of the non-custodial parent”.
Custody (and this includes temporary custody) should only be allowed to be revised through the courts if a change in circumstances takes place in the ‘custodial’ home that actually might have some impact on a child’s life…
This means that if you are, for instance: using drugs when your child is young or living in a car when your child is young and custody of said child must be given to someone else due to these or similar situations, you don’t get a do-over if you straighten up your act later in life. It’s great that you straightened up; however, it should not mean that a child is uprooted from a happy, stable home to be returned to you, in the hope, that you will continue being able to care for them: that you won’t be recalled into the army or lose a job and wind up in a car again, etc.
Again, I think ‘custody’ (even temporary) needs to begin being looked at as more or less a permanent arrangement unless you have a ‘change in circumstances’ in the actual custodial caretaker’s life. You should not be allowed to petition the court to change it unless you have proof of a substantial change in circumstances in the ‘custodial’ home.
We have to begin reigning in this whole ‘custody’ business that has sprung up over the last 20 odd years or so. I guarantee you that ‘back in the day’ someone living in a car, whether or not they used drugs, would never have had a prayer of getting a court to hear a petition to overturn another custody arrangement their child was living in, even a temporary one. Court over-involvement in these issues has led to these abductions we are always hearing about…
Richard Wayne Landers Jr., Indiana Boy Abducted In 1994, Found In Minnesota
01/10/13 10:04 PM ET EST
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana woman whose young son was abducted 19 years ago was screaming and "jumping up and down" after learning he was living in Minnesota under a different name, her husband said Thursday shortly after police announced they had found him.
Richard Wayne Landers Jr. was just 5 years old when he and his paternal grandparents, who were upset over custody arrangements, disappeared from Wolcottville, a town about 30 miles north of Fort Wayne.
Indiana State Police said the now 24-year-old Landers was found in Long Prairie, Minn., thanks in part to his Social Security number. His grandparents were living under aliases in a nearby town and confirmed his identity, investigators said.
Police declined to say whether the grandparents would face charges, citing the ongoing investigation.
Landers' mother, Lisa Harter, was "jumping up and down for joy" when investigators told her a few days ago that her son had been found, her husband Richard Harter told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
He said his wife is "the happiest woman on earth."
Harter said he and his wife were working with an attorney and hoped to reunite with his stepson soon. Police said Landers is married and expecting his first child.
Harter declined further comment and referred questions about the case to his attorney, who didn't immediately return phone messages Thursday. Investigators declined to release the names under which Landers and his grandparents had been living.
Police said the boy's paternal grandparents, Richard E. and Ruth A. Landers, abducted him in July 1994 because they were "upset over pending court proceedings" regarding his placement.
Police spokesman Sgt. Ron Galaviz said it appears the boy's father was never in the picture. Lisa and Richard Harter had married a year earlier.
Authorities believe the grandparents took the boy from their home in Wolcottville and fled. They were charged at the time with misdemeanor interference with custody, which was bumped up to a felony in 1999. But the charge was dismissed in 2008 after the case went cold.
Investigators reopened the case in September when Richard Harter turned over the boy's Social Security card to an Indiana State Police detective.
That turned up a man with the same Social Security number and date of birth living in Long Prairie, Minn., about 100 miles northwest of Minneapolis. A driver's license photo for the man appeared to resemble Landers, police said.
Indiana State Police then contacted Minnesota law enforcement agencies, which began investigating along with the FBI and the Social Security Administration.
The grandparents were found living in nearby Browerville, Minn.
"By all accounts, it didn't appear he suffered from any abuse, either physical or mental," Galaviz said.