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Must the Children Bear the Cost?

August 26, 1994

Elizabeth Mehren's "New Salvo in Custody Wars" (Aug. 3) describes reactions to (Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Raymond Cashen's) ruling in Ireland vs. Smith.

If Judge Cashen was truly concerned that Maranda (Ireland-Smith) be "raised and supervised by blood relatives," shouldn't the ruling have been for joint custody so that Maranda's closest blood relatives, her mother and father, could nurture her?

Quoted were a family law professor, child-care provider and a women's law attorney.

Each held opinions favoring either (mother Jennifer) Ireland's or (father Steven) Smith's plan for Maranda. One winner, two losers, if you count the child.

Most divorce and adoption arrangements create adversarial instead of extended family relationships. Mehren provided stats in support of today's single working parents.

The following stat supports not aborting one or both biological parents from the child:

"Adults who were raised in foster, adoptive or divorce custody situations, where access to one or both of the biological parents is prevented, make up the majority, or numbers disproportionate to general population, in our nation's mental and penal institutions."

Perhaps judges and the "experts" should reconsider "the child's best interests" in terms of the lifelong costs to both the individual and society.

LORRAINE CARANGELO, Palm Desert

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