In any situation involving child custody, the most important issue that needs to be addressed is the well being of the children. In California, if a parent is not taking good care of the children or exposing them to dangerous situations, legal and governmental intervention may be the answer. In many cases, parents are granted shared custody of the children so that both parents can be involved in the lives of their children.
What happens, though, when there is only one parent responsible for the health and safety of the children? Under these circumstances, Child Protective Services may get involved in order to determine whether or not a child or children can stay in the custody of the parent.
Recently, Nadya Suleman - otherwise referred to as "Octomom" - has drawn the attention of the media and CPS when pictures were released that put her parenting into question. Suleman has 14 children in her care. Despite the controversy surrounding her decision to have so many children, she has always maintained that she is a good mother. The pictures, taken by Suleman's hair stylist, that were released are calling that into question.
The pictures suggest that the 14 children are living in an unsanitary and neglectful environment. The house is messy, there is writing on the walls and children use portable toilets in the back yard because there is only one working bathroom in the house. However, as one spokesperson for the CPS states, it is not against the law to have a messy house. It is not up to the government to decide on how a child should be potty trained.
Unless the children are in danger or face threats to their health, there may be no action taken on the part of CPS. If, however, they decide that the children are not safe in the home or they are not receiving adequate care, they may remove them and place them with foster parents or in the care of relatives.
In any case involving children, emotions can run very high. A parent may disagree with CPS or another parent challenging custody, but it is most important to ensure that the needs of the children are being met. A non-custodial parent may believe that the custodial parent is not taking proper care of a child. In these cases, legal intervention may be necessary.
Source: Fox News, "Could conditions in Octomom's house cause her to lose custody of her 14 kids?" Hollie McKay, April 26, 2012