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Troubled couple seeks child custody mediation agreement

It is common in Nebraska to seek family law-related mediation services regarding child custody or divorce cases.

Nebraskans are watching with interest as the judge in a Texas court rules on a final hearing pertaining to the best interests of the couple's remaining seven children following the mysterious death of their adopted son.

After rescue workers responded to a call, they found the 4-year-old adopted son unresponsive. The courts assigned the remaining seven children, ages one to thirteen, to be placed in foster homes and monitored by Child Protective Services. This included conversations with the young children to evaluate their emotional state. The couple was charged with with injury to a child by omission.

The ruling judge said the couple might regain custody of the children if CPS continued to monitor the stability of the environment.

The judge will decide if the period of monitoring for the family should come to an end. In such mediated settlement agreements, the need for a jury trial is not necessary. It is a solution that works for Nebraskans, as well as other troubled families in the nation.

Public support for the couple has been mixed. There was a questionable video posted by one of the children online, as well as conflicting reports of abuse in the foster homes. The district attorney presented evidence from witnesses and discrepancies in medical evidence, so the charges against the couple were dropped.

Officials are still concerned that the couple has not undergone counseling, as per the mediated agreement.

The children were placed with a family friend with allowed parental visits without CPS monitoring the situation.

When the courts ruled the children could be returned home, updated allegations indicated the children were adjusting well.

This case is tragic but in the state of Nebraska and elsewhere, mediation agreements are becoming a popular alternative to traditional divorce and child custody issues. If you are in a painful place and dealing with divorce or custody, seek the assistance of a person who can guide you through the case to determine the best outcome for you and your children.

Source: The Cleburnet Times Review, "Buddy Cook case could wrap up by October" Matt Smith, Aug. 06, 2014

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