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Judge Rules Against Cancer-Stricken Mom in Child Custody Case

Alaina Giordano

Alaina Giordano and her kids

I can see taking children away from their mother if she were unfit. You know, if she were, say, abusing drugs or abusing the kids. But because she has an advanced yet contained diagnosis of breast cancer? That’s not only cruel, but discriminatory.

That’s what’s happening in the case of Alaina Giordano. She and her husband are divorcing and the judge in the case has decided that since there’s “no telling how long she’ll live,” he should be able to move the kids, ages 5 and 11, out of state to where he’s been living and working since last August.

Never mind that there are allegedly documented instances when Alaina reported her soon-to-be ex for physically abusing her. Never mind that Alaina’s doctors couldn’t be more amazed at her progress in responding to treatment, and that her cancer is contained. Never mind that even if she wanted to, Alaina can’t leave the state, too, at the moment, without risking an interruption to her cancer treatment.

Alaina already moved once after she received her cancer diagnosis and it was because her husband said he wanted to further his education. But after three years living in North Carolina, her young children have put down roots and she’s now fortunate to receive treatment at one of the best cancer treatment centers in the world — the Duke Cancer Institute.

Two years ago her husband left the family for four months to pursue a job opportunity, visiting on weekends but never giving his wife the address where he was living. When he did come home, Alaina often called domestic abuse hotlines.

When her husband announced in January 2010 that he wanted to leave yet again for another job opportunity, Alaina said she needed to stay put for the sake of her treatment and their kids. That was when he filed for separation and custody of their kids. She didn’t know at the time that he already had a lawyer on retainer as well as a secret bank account.

The judge in the case says the documented instances of calls to domestic violence helplines and the people who witnessed the abuse aren’t at issue, but Alaina’s prognosis is. But would a ruling in Alaina’s favor mean her ex would realize he should stay in-state if he wants to see his kids? Will the judge consider the possibility that it could be in the best interest of the kids to stay with their mom for as long as possible? Could it possibly be true that a woman is losing custody of her kids because she’s being treated for cancer? Shouldn’t she be able to see her kids more if she’s that sick?

A Facebook page has been set up for Alaina to raise awareness of her case. And since she’s unable to match her ex in court in terms of financial resources and an attorney, I’m guessing that she’s accepting donations.

Let’s hope the judge in this case either knows something we don’t or will see to it to reverse her ruling (yes, the judge is a woman).

Do you think the judge’s ruling seems fair or discriminatory?

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