10/08/2015

Four unusual child custody cases

Case #1. Taken from Wikipedia. 
In June 1858, police arrived at the Bologna home of a Jewish couple, Salomone and Marianna Padovani Mortara, to take one of their eight children, six-year-old Edgardo, and transport him to Rome to be raised as a ward of the state. The police had orders from the Catholic Church's Holy Office, authorized by Pope Pius IX. 


"The Kidnapping of Edgardo Montara" 
by Moritz Daniel Oppenheimer 
In those days, the city of Bologna was ruled by the pope. Under church law, baptism may be administered to a person in danger of imminent death by anyone, man or woman, even a non-Christian, and is considered a valid baptism as long as it is done in the manner in which the Catholic Church baptizes. Originally intended as a relief for Catholic families suffering high infant mortality rates, it had not been intended to be used for Jewish families. This rule allowed anyone to perform emergency baptism so the infant would not die unbaptised. Its use in the case of very ill Jewish children was accepted by the Christian population.
As it turned out, six year old Edgardo had been baptized by a servant without his parents' consent. After he was baptized, as attested by the girl, he was Catholic in accordance with Church law.  This law said non-Christians could not raise a Christian child even if the child was their own.

Note: I read Steven Spielberg is working on a movie about this case. 
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgardo_Mortara
Case #4. Inserted here because it's a new case, about a mother who may lose her four children, who can stay in Australia as she's deported back to Venezuela.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/tugoflove-mum-fights-department-of-immigration-for-visa-20151009-gk5vj8.html

Case #2.  Taken from PBS and my own memory.
In November 1999 two Florida fishermen found a six year old boy, Elian Gonzalez,  on a raft floating offshore some 60 miles north of Miami. Elian had been brought aboard the raft by his divorced mother, who died during the trip together with all the other adults. 

His great-uncles Lázaro and Delfín González and his cousin, Marisleysis González, took him in, but they lacked custody. The father, who had remained in Cuba (and claimed he didn't know the mother was taking Elian), claimed his son, as provided by international law. The case was fought by the grand uncle, and became a battleground between the Cuban exiles living in the United States and dictator Fidel Castro. 
This case caused a very strong debate in my family. I supported the father's case even though I hated Fidel Castro, while my mom, like most Cubans In the USA, wanted the boy to stay. It got so bad she wouldn't talk to me at times. 
The  U.S. government had to see this case taken through US courts. As I recall (I'm going from memory) the battle included a hearing in a Florida family court, which declared it lacked the legal basis to award custody to the grand uncle, because there was no proof the father was incompetent. 
The case was taken to a Federal judge, who decided in favor of the USA government, standing behind the father's right to get his son back in Cuba (I think he may have been torn between seeing his boy raised as a free man, and his desire to see his son grow up, he also knew that, if he didn't ask for the boy, Fidel would have his life torn to shreds). 
Elian at six in Miami 
Why did the USA government and courts back the father? Because Elian was a six year old illegal alien. Under USA law a six year old can't speak for himself. Because the mother had died during the trip, she never had dry feet, and thus was never a US resident. This left the father as the sole remaining guardian. And Elian couldn't become a US resident unless his dad asked for asylum on his behalf. 
The case ended with a big splash, after the "Miami family", backed by hundreds of extremists, refused to turn over Elian to US authorities. This led to a house raid by heavily armed federal cops, who took Elian and flew him to Washington DC, where he was handed over to his dad.
I decided to include his case because I read a newspaper report that Elian was in Miami. It seems he decided to take in the sights, although I understand he's a committed communist and a high profile member of the Castro oligarchy.
http://www.biography.com/people/elián-gonzález-9542365#profile
http://fox13now.com/2013/12/12/elian-gonzalezs-great-uncle-he-says-what-they-taught-him/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/elian/etc/eliancron.html
Case #3. Taken from YNET News. 
In October 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in that a Palestinian Muslim who was born in Nablus and resided in Israel will continue to serve as the guardian of his twin daughters aged 5, but at the same time their (Jewish Orthodox) foster family will be responsible for how they are brought up.
The twins were born in 2010 to their Muslim father and a Jewish woman, who recently committed suicide. 

A few days after their birth, the twins were transferred to the welfare authorities and were handed over to an observant Jewish foster family. The foster parents requested to adopt the children, but the father refused and asked to remain their guardian.

After a legal dispute lasting years, the Supreme Court ruled that the father will continue to be the guardian so as to retain his dignity, but the upbringing will be done by the foster parents who will also receive the status of guardians with broad powers.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4707991,00.html

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