Access to a “severely disabled” mother

A very sad family law case, from the Los Angeles Times:

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a paraplegic woman who communicates by blinking has the right to see her 4-year-old triplets.

In a tentative 10-page ruling, Judge Frederick C. Shaller said that Abbie Dorn, 34, can see her daughter, Esti, and sons Reuvi and Yossi, for a five-day visit each year pending a trial in the acrimonious custody case. She also entitled to a monthly online Skype visit. A trial date has yet to be set.

“We are thrilled,” said Felicia Meyers, one of Dorn’s attorneys.

Although “there is no compelling evidence that the visitations by the children will have any benefit to Abby,” Shaller wrote, “…there is no compelling evidence that visitation with Abby will be detrimental to the children.”

Dorn was healthy until June 20, 2006, when she gave birth to the children at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. During delivery, a string of medical errors starved her brain of oxygen, and she is in a minimally conscious state, according to the neurologist who examined her during legal proceedings.

The father is being savaged in the paper’s comment section, with Times readers saying that the mother has a right to see her children.  But if I may play devil’s advocate for a moment: access is a right for the child, not the parent, and while it is rare for a parent to be denied any access to his or her children, it does happen (when the parent has a criminal history involving offences against the children, for example).

In this case, is the father being malicious in seeking to deny access to the mother?  Maybe, but arguing that it would be traumatic for the children to see their mother in this condition doesn’t sound like a patently unreasonable position.

(via Woods Family Law Blog)

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