Many Arizona parents are unable to reach an agreement about the care and custody of their shared children. In some cases, these families will end up before a family court judge, who is tasked with determining an outcome that is in line with the best interests of the children. Unfortunately, however, there is no guarantee that those standards will always be met. An example is found in a case in which a mother lost a child custody case and had to fight the matter through appeals.
The parents had two children together and lived in the same home until late 2010. At that point, the mother moved to a different state to attend college and was given primary custody of the children. In 2013, the father learned that his former partner was employed as a prostitute in a brothel.
In court, the mother testified that she had, in fact, worked as a prostitute in a state where such employment was legal. She pointed out that she made that choice in order to pay down medical debt and to offset more than $10,000 in unpaid child support. She also asserted that her children were never exposed to her work and that they were never at any risk.
The court was unsympathetic and awarded primary custody to the father. The mother appealed, and when the higher court reviewed the case, they found that the lower court had made a determination that was based more on the mother's occupational choices that it was on the best interests of the children. The decision was reversed, and the mother regained child custody rights. For many Arizona parents, this case serves as a warning of how quickly things can go awry in family court.
Source: timesfreepress.com, "Tennessee court gives former prostitute primary custody of her children", Nov. 1, 2016