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Lakeville dad who left boy with neighbors seeks joint custody

In the case of separated parents, determining child custody and visitation rights can be a difficult process. That is especially true when the child custody case has garnered significant media attention like the case of the Lakeville dad that sent his 11-year-old son to stay with neighbors while he went to California last July in order to stave off foreclosure and look for work.

We have been following the story for months. In late January, the 60-year-old man was found guilty of child neglect. Although it appeared unlikely that the man would be reunited with his son, it now seems like a possibility.

Recently, the Lakeville dad had a child-protection hearing to discuss the boy's future. During the hearing, the father requested that the court reunite him with his son since he had done everything his court-appointed therapist had asked of him.

The judge overseeing the case and the therapist, on the other hand, recommended delaying reuniting the man with his son for now. For the boy's part, he submitted a letter to the court stating that he enjoyed staying at his maternal great-aunt's home and receiving visits from his mother.

Despite the stalemate, hope for a happy resolution seems to be on the horizon. On the same day as the hearing, the boy's mother suggested a joint-custody agreement. In 2002, the boy's mother lost visitation rights after a series of custody disputes. The boy's father has indicated that he is willing to work with the boy's mother to create a joint-custody agreement. The couple expects to have an approved agreement for the court to review before the next child-protection review hearing on Mar. 21.

The county has until July 27 to permanently place the boy with his parents.

Source: Pioneer Press, "Lakeville dad who abandoned son eyes joint custody with estranged mother," Maricella Miranda, Feb. 22, 2012

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