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Return of missing sisters doesn't end custody debate

We have written on any number of occasions in the past few months about the tension that naturally exists in the family law arena regarding matters related to child custody. The tenet the courts try to follow when deciding what parenting plan to approve is framed by the phrase "the best interests of the child."

But as many of those previous posts have noted, that doesn't represent a bright line means of making a determination when child custody cases in Mississippi need to be resolved. Both parents are likely to have their own, diametrically opposed, opinions on the subject. The children who are affected may have their own view of how they want things to play out.

It is the court that has to make the final call. Rarely is everyone going to be completely satisfied with the outcome. But by working with experienced legal counsel, the parties involved can at least be confident they have done all they can to present the most persuasive case.

The thing that inspires this week's post is a case out of Minnesota. Some of our readers may be familiar with it. It features two sisters, ages 16 and 17, who disappeared more than two years ago during their parents' fractious divorce.

During the proceedings, the girls told the court they did not want to live with their father, alleging he was abusive. But a court psychologist offered the opinion that the girls had been brainwashed by their mother. In light of all this, the court removed the girls from the custody of both parents. Full custody was eventually granted to the father, but before that order could be fulfilled, the girls ran away.

That was in 2013. Last month, it was reported the girls had been on a horse farm in Minnesota all this time. Their mother is facing criminal charges for allegedly facilitating their disappearance.

Now that they have been found, the court has approved a plan aimed at reunifying the girls with their father and their three siblings. But they still say they don't want to live with dad.

This has at least one pundit suggesting that reunification with the father might not be in the best interests of these girls. What do you think?

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