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Guardianship decided over orphaned child of NFL player

Deciding to take on the role of raising an orphaned child is not an easy one, even if that child happens to be a relative. It requires a long-term commitment and the ability to provide a stable home for a child who may be struggling with domestic abuse or the death of their parents. Minor children in Grand Rapids can be the subject of legal disputes, especially if the children come with a hefty inheritance, as relatives fight over who will make the best financial decisions and protect that inheritance.

A Texas judge recently decided that the guardianship of deceased NFL linebacker, Jovan Belcher, should be given to a cousin of the child’s mother. Belcher shot the mother and then himself in December, leaving the baby an orphan. The player’s mother was also seeking guardianship of the child and while both women were determined to be appropriate caregivers for the child, the judge stated the child had clearly bonded with the cousin and taking her out of her current home would not be in her best interest.

As part of the guardianship, the baby will spend time with relatives of her father but her primary residence will be with the cousin. It is unknown whether the grandmother intends to appeal the decision. When a family member wishes to protect a child that is orphaned, or has been taken away from their parents, they may want to talk to an experienced attorney about how to file a guardianship action. The attorney can explain the process to them and assist them in meeting the requirements of the court.

Source: The Kansas City Star, “Cousin of Zoey Belcher’s mother is awarded guardianship of 9-month-old,” Brian Burnes, Jun. 20, 2013

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