Thursday, May 12, 2011

Judge Cites a Mother's Breast Cancer in Denying Custody of Children


I am Alaina. I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2007. I am not cancer.

I am a mother of two remarkable children. I am not cancer.

I am a daughter to loving parents. I am not cancer.

I am a sister to two amazing women. I am not cancer.

I am a friend to so many wonderful people. I am not cancer.

Because I have a cancer diagnosis, I have spent the last sixteen months in court defending myself from the attacks of my abusive husband who filed a lawsuit against me in Durham County, NC asking for full, permanent custody of our two children using the argument that I have a cancer diagnosis. He then chose to move to the Chicago area to take a job at Sears Holdings, Inc. leaving our children in my sole physical custody since August 2010.

On Monday, April 25, 2011, the Judge ruled that our children must be uprooted from their home in Durham, NC where they have lived since July 18, 2008 to live with their father in the Chicago area on the basis that I have a cancer diagnosis.

Curred from
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In a bitter child custody battle, Alaina Giordano's terminal breast cancer has been a strike against her in court. A North Carolina judge denied Giordano primary custody of her two children in part because "the course of her disease is unknown" and "children who have a parent with cancer need more contact with the non-ill parent."

Giordano's unemployment was also cited as a factor in the April 25th District Court ruling that her two children must move from their home in Durham, N.C., to live primarily with their father, Kane Snyder in Chicago as of June 17.

"It makes no sense to take them away from me because you don't know how long I'm going to live," Giordano says. "Everybody dies and none of us knows when. Some of us have a diagnosis of cancer, or diabetes, or asthma. This is a particularly dangerous ruling to base a custody case on a diagnosis."

Giordano and Snyder will share custody of Bud, 5, and Sofia, 11, but if Giordano continues to live in Durham, where she is treated by a team of doctors at Duke Cancer Institute, her custody will be limited to holiday and weekend visitation, the airfare for which, she says she cannot afford.

Giordano has stage 4 breast cancer. Though it has metastasized to her bones, she receives monthly treatment and her medical records list her cancer as stable and not progressing. "I'm fully functional and my kids are thriving here in Durham," she says.

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