Ohio residents may be interested to know that reality television star Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife Beth won temporary custody of their 9-year-old grandson on last month in Honolulu, Hawaii. However, Chapman and his wife say what they really want is a parenting plan for the boy's father, requiring him to get help for his anger and to take parenting classes. The boy is the son of Chapman's deceased daughter, Barbara Katy. The boy had been living with his father in Hawaii until the recent change in child custody. Chapman's daughter died in a car accident in 2006.

The disagreement arose because the father disciplined the boy, purportedly for getting into trouble at school, lying to the teacher and then hiding the notes he was to bring home. However, an upstairs neighbor made a recording of the beating that followed, and Chapman brought it to court to convince the judge that something must be done to protect the boy. The judge ordered a temporary change in custody and a further hearing was scheduled for this month. Chapman and the father had a prior falling out and each has dueling applications for orders of protection awaiting a court determination.

While this case is being heard in Hawaii, the underlying principles are similar in Ohio and other states. The court is charged with deciding what is in the best interests of the child. In those instances where there is evidence of abuse, a court will typically err on the side of caution. While it remains to be seen what the final result of this litigation will be, it is clear that those facing child custody disagreements are best served by conferring with an attorney experienced in all aspects of family law and procedure to fight for what is truly best for the child.

Source: The Hawaii News Now, "'Dog' Chapman awarded temporary custody of grandson after disturbing tape surfaces," Oct. 30, 2011