While every childhood is different, it is reasonable to assume that most children do not expect to wake up one day to find their parents gone. Unfortunately for an 11-year-old from Lakeville, that is exactly what happened. He had been living with his father and in mid-July found two letters from his father explaining that he was leaving him. His father also told him that the mother he believed to be dead was actually alive. In what is evolving to be an extremely complex child custody case, the child’s mother has now come forward and wants to be a part of the boy’s life.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the parents separated almost ten years ago, but that the boy’s father had told him his mother had died of cancer. Some reports indicate the father didn’t believe the mother was a good influence on the boy and he tried to shield his son from the mother. Despite the nine-year separation and the complete lack of communication, the mother has retained her parental rights.
The mother’s visitation rights were suspended in 2002, however. It appears that she had not taken advantage of her visitation hours.
Now that the preteen’s father has been arrested and is awaiting extradition to Minnesota, his mother has contacted Dakota County and wants to participate in the County’s discussions surrounding her son’s custody. The child is currently living with his maternal aunt, but it is ultimately up to the court and child-protection officials to determine who will have custody of him.
It is possible for the mother to request custody of the child, but there is no indication on how Dakota County would receive such an application.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Mom of Lakeville boy abandoned by father comes forward,” Joy Powell, Aug. 31, 2011