December 7th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
A Texas court has rubber-stamped the kidnapping of four children by their mother, at least for the time being. Read about it here (The Champion Newspaper, 12/4/12).
Last June, Melisa Ivey, who lives in Carrollton, Texas, traveled to DeKalb County, Georgia and, in violation of their parenting order, took the children, ages 10 – 14 from their father’s care. She absconded with them back to Texas where they’ve remained ever since.
The children’s father, Micah Parker, has had no contact with them since then, despite the fact that he’d been their primary parent.
It should come as no surprise that Ivey has leveled charges of child abuse, for which she’s offered no objective evidence save her claim that one of the children had a bruise. For his part, Parker offered numerous witnesses to his good character.
Celeste Howard, a former teacher of one of Parker’s children, described Parker as “very loving and caring.”
“I really admire Mr. Parker with how involved he was…in everything they did,” said Howard, who has known him for five years.
Obelia Hall, principal of Stephenson Middle School, where two of the children attended, said Parker, was a “mainstay” at the school, serving on the school’s PTSA and starting a morning reading program. “He is very concerned about his children’s welfare.”
In his testimony, Parker’s pastor, Robert Jackson, said, “I know that [Parker] loves the kids immensely. I see him as a serious family.”
“I have a great deal of respect for [him],” said Jackson, who has known Parker for approximately five years. “I see him as a serious father.”
Yes, pastors, teachers, school principals, all of whom have known Parker for many years and seen how he interacts with his kids testified to what a loving, caring father he is. They said he’s an excellent, involved father. Apparently, there’s no evidence to the contrary apart from Ivey’s claims. But to the Texas judge, all of that adds up to Parker’s not being able to see his children for at least eight months until the next hearing is held.
Interstate Abduction of Children Much Like the International Variety
And then there’s the fact that Ivey’s not only violated the terms of their custody order, but the laws of the State of Georgia as well. Of course Georgia does have laws regarding child custody and child welfare that are probably every bit as good as those in Texas. Plus, it’s got family courts to go with those laws. So if Ivey was so concerned about the children’s welfare, she could have just filed a motion in the appropriate court in DeKalb County. That court would then have determined who was right, who was wrong, who got custody, who paid child support, etc. That’s if a change were warranted; otherwise it could just have maintained the status quo.
In short, what’s now going on in Texas could just as easily have taken place in Georgia, where the kids already were. But no, Melisa Ivey decided to kidnap the children, uproot them from their routines and haul them closer to her own home. There’s not a thing legal about that, but apparently it’s all perfectly acceptable to the Texas court. Just watch; if she and the courts can drag this out much longer, it’ll be time for the court to decide that, yes, everything she did was wrong, but the kids have been with her so long, it would be too upsetting to them to send them back to their dad.
It’s all very much like the many international abduction cases we see so often, except there’s no international convention to deal with this one. Here, as in those cases, the fact that the mother has intentionally violated the law, is somehow ignored by the courts. If that fact is ever weighed against her, it’s never mentioned. And here, as in those cases, she’s intentionally denied the children access to their father. In a sane system, that would be called child abuse and appropriately punished, but, like her legal violations, it’s ignored. Those two things alone should lose her the custody she already lost in the first place.
But if any of that has sunk in on the Texas judge, it’s not obvious.
We’ll see what happens.