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Ex-wife of polygamy sect leader gets custody of children

Some Texas parents may be aware of the divorce of one of the wives of a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The radical sect is an offshoot of the mainstream Mormon church, and its followers practice polygamy. The woman said she felt she had to get custody of the two children, ages 14 and 17, that she had with the leader because she was afraid the children would be taken out of her reach. Her attorney told the judge in the case during a closed hearing that he believed trucks leaving the church's compound were carrying children away.

The father agreed to give primary custody to the mother although he noted on the document that he was signing it under protest. The 14-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy will see their father on alternate weekends and during the summer. He will also pay for the children's education and medical care as well as child support and money toward his ex-wife's housing expenses.

The mother's attorney expressed concern about how the handoff of the children would proceed. One such handoff involving different parents had to be done in a public park with law enforcement present, and the mother warned that if there were any problems, the father might not go through with the transfer.

Even when unusual issues like polygamy are not involved, child custody issues can quickly become complex, and a parent may wish to work with an attorney to negotiate the details. In particularly contentious relationships, it may be necessary to work out neutral places to transfer children as this couple did. However, if a couple can remain focused on a child's best interests, it may still be possible to come to an agreement regarding child custody and visitation that can be approved by the court.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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