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County worker fired for alleged involvement in child custody case

There are few times in life that can create more conflict than during and in the months following a relationship break-up involving children. Parents who are at odds over the issue of child custody may struggle to determine which arrangement will work best. Colorado parents who are experiencing difficulty in this area may seek further information on how to best resolve the matter.

Recently, the sheriff's department in one state determined that an employee took a serious custody matter into her own hands and did not follow the official protocol for doing so. The woman was terminated from her position after 18 years for inserting herself into a custody battle without ensuring that the children involved were safe. According to the report, she was approached by an acquaintance in her capacity as a child welfare worker to conduct an interview with three young children in the center of a custody dispute.

The investigator agreed to speak to the children and conducted a lengthy interview with the minors at the sheriff's office while in uniform. She then wrote a letter which stated her opinion that the children should reside with their father as she felt that he could provide a safer home environment than the children's biological mother. Purportedly, the children described drug and alcohol use in their presence as well as a threat of violence.

The judge who received the worker's letter advising the change in custody was disturbed that the worker did not open a welfare and safety investigation based on the allegations reported by the children against their mother and stepfather. He further stated that the worker did not conduct an unbiased interview due to her association with the father's current spouse. The sheriff's office then fired the worker and is investigating whether criminal charges are appropriate.

Colorado families who are experiencing difficulty in arriving at a suitable child custody plan may be unsure as to how to settle this matter. No parent wants to expose his or her child to an unsafe or unhealthy home environment, and it may unclear as to how to ensure that a child's best interests are balanced with protecting the bonds between each parent and their child. An experienced and compassionate attorney can help find the best solutions for a family's needs.

Source: tampabay.com, "Pinellas sheriff's investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle", Kathryn Varn, Dec. 15, 2017

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