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Couple arrested for alleged child custody fraud

A child custody dispute is often one of the most acrimonious issues in Colorado family law. The following story illustrates how some people may take advantage of the strong emotions that surface around child custody issues.

The case involves a couple from another state, but it could have happened in Colorado. The man and woman have been accused of bilking taxpayers and possibly clients. According to investigators in the state where the couple has operated, they ran a business from their home as court mediators. They say the woman claimed to have a doctoral degree in psychology and a license to practice therapy, although she had neither.

On Nov. 28, the sheriff in the Arizona county where the couple operated announced the couple was being investigated for receiving payments to create false evidence intended to affect the outcome of child custody cases. He added that the investigation is still in its initial stages and that his department did not yet know where it would all lead.

One woman claiming to be a victim in the case said the court ordered her to take her son to the couple's home for a supervised visit with the child's father. The woman said that she believed her son had been abused during the visit. She added that she came to believe that the couple's strategy was to offer to a parent a guarantee of child custody in exchange for a fee.

What this case points out is that just because the courts rely on a particular provider for services does not mean that those providers have necessarily undergone appropriate background checks. It's also possible that there are no state laws governing the practices of these individuals.

Parents in Colorado should know that the primary concern of the courts in determining child custody is what is deemed in the best interests of the children. Having confidence that everyone involved in making that determination is in fact operating with the same goal in mind can be enhanced with the help of experienced legal counsel.

Source: East Valley Tribune, "Mesa couple arrested in child custody fraud case," MaryEllen Resendez, Nov. 30, 2012

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