When parents in Georgia are going through divorce, agreeing on the child custody and visitation schedules can be two of the most contentious parts of the process. However, when one parent is in a vegetative state, does he or she still have inherent parenting rights?
One court case is examining the visitation and child custody rights of each parent in one such case.
When the mother was giving birth to her triplets, a medical mistake caught off oxygen to her brain. She was left severely disabled and in a vegetative state. The couple divorced shortly after that, and the dad has had custody of the three kids since then.
Although he has flown across the country to allow his kids to visit their mother, the visit was not mandated by the court and was not part of any formal visitation schedule. The dad is willing to continue operating on that sort of schedule - unscheduled, unregulated and on his terms - but his ex-wife's parents want more.
Because their daughter is unable to talk or move, they filed a lawsuit on her behalf. They want their grandchildren to have regular scheduled visits with the kids' mother.
Although the dad has valid reasons for objecting, his former in-laws are continuing to press the case. At the most basic level, visiting his ex-wife is an expensive and time-consuming ordeal. After the medical accident and divorce, the couple ended up on opposite costs of the United States.
Moreover, after bringing the kids to visit their mom, they exhibited unusual behavior when they returned home. One of the kids began wetting the bed three times a week, and the other two became needy.
Read the next post to learn about the outcome of the trial.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Visitation hearing for severely disabled woman examines the basics of parenthood," Maria L. La Ganga, 22 March 2011