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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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Guest Anxietyridden

Can my children be taken away?

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Guest Anxietyridden

Sorry so long!!

I have been in a committed relationship with my 1st cousin for over 5 years. We didn't know each other as children and didn't really become aware of each other until 5 years ago. I had limited contact with his side of the family growing up. But both sides of our families know we are in a relationship. 

I have 3 children from a previous marriage. Their father and I share custody. He has since remarried. My mother told my ex husband about the nature of my relationship. Since he and his wife found out, it's been hell. They have accused my partner and me of sexually abusing my children, which is completely false. They state that since we are in an "incestuous" relationship that the risk of the children being sexually abused is greater. They have had DHHS meet with us, but of course they didn't find anything going on.

It's completely ridiculous that they have turned our loving companionship into some perverse situation. I'm made to feel like this completely happy and healthy relationship is wrong or bad. I've developed severe anxiety and live in fear that my children will be taken away from me because the ex and his wife are too ignorant to understand my relationship and will stop at nothing to make me look bad to the children's school, therapists, doctors, etc. 

I need advice on my situation. Can my children be taken away from me because I'm in a relationship with my cousin? 

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Anxietyridden,

 I suppose it depends on where you are. If cousin marriage is legal in the State you are in, then, no, it's all a lot of puff and bravado out of your ex and his new wife. I'm going to go only slightly out on a limb here, and say that since DHHS has met with you, and found nothing, then at least as of now, you are fine, and the children cannot be taken away from you. Let's go ahead and get the legal disclaimer out of the way here, and remind you that we are not lawyers, and do not give legal advice. However, that said, I'm reasonably confident that if you are in a State which DOES consider cousin relationships as criminally incestuous, the children would have already been taken, and that would be the least of your legal worries at this point. Luckily, there are only a very few such States. Most of the States where you cannot legally marry still do not consider cousins to be on the list of criminally prosecutable under the incest statutes. So long as it is not a crime for the two of you to be together, then your ex would be very hard pressed indeed to take the children from you. I do hope you have the cards of the DHHS folks you spoke with. If not, get their contact information. If it were me, I would do as follows... First, I would contact them, let them know you appreciate the fact that they had to check into the report, and that you also appreciate that they found factually that there was obviously no such issues going on. I would tell them that the drama is continuing, and that THAT part of it IS becoming an issue with the potential to be detrimental to the children. I would ask if they would be willing to speak with your ex (or speak with him again) and let him know that basically, he should cut the crap before it does become any more detrimental to the children, or they will be coming over to have an official "Come to Jesus" meeting with him and his new wife. I HAVE seen (here, DCFS) do such a thing before. The "puddin' stirrers" were told in no uncertain terms to cut the crap, lest THEY find themselves on the wrong side of the law for false reporting and harassment. It worked. Perhaps such a call would work in your case....

 Other than that, you may be well advised to speak with a family law attorney, perhaps the one who represented you in the divorce. Do realize that they may also be biased against cousin relationships, as could be a judge. However, depending on the law in your State, should you be ruled against, it would be immediately appealable, and at the appellate level, biases are NOT considered, only the law. Appellate judges have a knack for smackdowns, in a BIG way. And they don't care WHO they smack down. They will smack down petitioners, lawyers, and even lower court judges equally. If you have any indication your lawyer may be biased against your situation, find another lawyer, looking for one who has done work at the appellate level. One such as that will have either already been "tuned-up", or have had the big smile when the other side got their "tune-up". ;):D:lol:

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