You likely remember the story from last summer in which a Lakeville father apparently abandoned his 11-year-old son, leaving the son a note that he should go to a neighbor's house and asked them to care for him. After leaving Lakeville, the father drove to the West Coast where he found a job at a deli and lived in his van, according to a report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The father was arrested and returned to Minnesota at the end of August and held in jail until September. Now the father is seeking a joint custody arrangement with the son's mother. Prior to the father's departure in July, he had sole custody of his son. Now the father and mother have agreed to cooperate to develop a joint child-custody arrangement.
The judge in this matter has indicated that the son has expressed a preference for his current situation, living with his maternal great-aunt. He also apparently enjoys having visits with his mother, but does not wish to reconnect with his father at this time,
In order to help determine what arrangement will fulfill the best interests of the child, the father is undergoing a court-appointed evaluation. The doctor conducting this evaluation has indicated that he is not ready to recommend a reunion as the father still lacks empathy for the son.
The mother had initially lost visitation rights nearly a decade ago after custody disputes between the parents which often involved a visit from the Lakeville police department. Hopefully the current agreement to cooperate to develop a joint custody arrangement will facilitate a more positive and stable environment for this young boy.
Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Lakeville dad who abandoned son eyes joint custody with estranged mother," Maricella Miranda, Feb. 22, 2012