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Children returned to custody of father after ex-wife found dead

The death of a parent is likely one of the hardest things for a child to deal with, especially when that parent was a victim of foul play. In cases where the victim was the custodial parent, issues of child custody will likely ensue. This can place the surviving parent at odds with the children's grandparents and, in some cases, even the state, as a court must often make a determination regarding what is in the best interests of the child.

A Utah man is currently under scrutiny in the midst of a custody dispute. The man was awarded custody of his two youngest children after the suspicious death of his ex-wife over a year ago. While police have not named the man as an official suspect in his ex's death, law enforcement did obtain a search warrant for his home and car and interviewed him after his ex-wife's death. The man's oldest son, who is now 19, filed the motion to have the children removed from his father's home based on his belief that his father killed his mother. While the children, who were removed last June after the family came to an agreement, are now residing with their father, the court is maintaining a watchful eye over the situation.

In many instances when one parent passes, there is no issue with the surviving parent taking custody of the children. Sometimes, however, issues arise that require the court to get involved and potentially bar the surviving parent from retaining custody of the children. The court will determine what is in the best interests of the child or children in making this custody decision.

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune, "Children released to man whose ex-wife found dead," Cimaron Neugebauer, Feb. 7, 2013

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