Jovan Belcher child custody dispute slated for trial in Missouri

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Child custody disputes can arise from a variety of different circumstances. Most child custody disputes are handled during a divorce proceeding. However, changes in circumstances may give rise to the need for a modification of a child custody and visitation schedule. Again, most of these kinds of issues arise between the parents of a child.

In January, we discussed a somewhat different type of custody dispute that arose after the tragedy involving Jovan Belcher and the mother of his child. Reports indicate that Belcher killed the child’s mother before committing suicide. In the aftermath of the murder suicide, authorities reportedly turned the deceased couple’s young daughter over to Belcher’s mother.

However, she says that she allowed a maternal relative of the child to take the young girl to Texas for the funeral of her slain mother. Since that time, the child’s grandmother says that the Texas relatives have cut off all contact between the paternal grandmother and the young girl. A child custody trial is scheduled for next week in Jackson County, Missouri to determine who should have custody of the young girl.

Generally, child custody issues are governed by the best interests of the child, a topic our Columbia, Missouri readers may recognize from prior discussions on this blog. In the Belcher situation that standard will have to come into play. The sparring families are expected to present evidence at trial in Missouri to support their own side. Reports indicate that more than 80 witnesses are expected to testify in the Missouri child custody trial. Notably, the maternal relatives reportedly live in Texas, while the child’s paternal grandmother resides in New York.

Source: USA Today, “Custody trial nearing for child in Belcher murder-suicide,” Lindsay H. Jones, May 30, 2013

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