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Melissa A. Featherston

Grandparents seek child custody in Missouri and another state

A child custody battle is heating up and will cross the Missouri state line. The issue at its heart is the child of deceased NFL player Jovan Belcher and Kassandra Perkins, also deceased. The child custody case is between the child's grandparents on both sides. After the death of the little girl's parents, she was turned over to her paternal grandmother.

However, new evidence has surfaced claiming the little girl is out of state and living with her maternal grandparents. The paternal grandmother allowed the mother's family to take the little girl to the funeral. They have apparently since stopped communication and will not return the child. Both sides are now involved in court cases seeking child custody.

Missouri judges are scheduled to start hearings in the case in order to determine custody of the child and support for her continued care. However, there is also a hearing scheduled in Texas, where the little girl is reported to be living. The little girl should be well taken care of because of a trust set up for her that contains funds given by the NFL team and public donations. She also stands to receive money from an NFL agreement. The little girl's maternal grandparents are requesting to be appointed as temporary guardians and for her residence to be established in the state of Texas.

Children are the ones who suffer the most when they become involved in a child custody battle. The situation could drag on for a lengthy period of time, and it is currently unknown whether custody will be decided in Missouri or Texas. Parents in this situation should understand their rights pertaining to custody laws in their respective states. This may help them as they struggle to do what they believe is in the best interests of the child.

Source: Star-Telegram, "Custody dispute is brewing in NFL murder-suicide case," Mark Morris, Jan. 6, 2013

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