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Minnesota Viking star's tragedy raises child custody concerns

Star Vikings' running back Adrian Peterson lost his son this past week in a tragic incident in South Dakota. According to reports, the two-year-old was assaulted by his mother's boyfriend. While the identity of the child was not released, Peterson confirmed that he was the child's father.

As the death of the innocent child was mourned by all, some local Minneapolis and St. Paul parents couldn't help but worry about their own children who are living with an ex's spouse whom they hardly know. This aspect of child custody agreements is overlooked by some, but can be critical under certain circumstances.

Fortunately, when couples split or get a divorce they often find new spouses who are willing and able to care for a child. However, there are instances where a new parent relationship is not in the best interests of the child. Parents are justified in scrutinizing their ex's new spouses or partners when they are given unfettered access to their children.

While tragic incidents like the one in South Dakota are rare, child abuse does occur. Signs of such abuse are usually apparent before a tragedy strikes. If such signs begin to occur, parents do have options. There are certainly a number of state agencies that are specifically designed to protect children in dangerous situations.

In addition, parents may be able to reach a modified agreement or obtain an amended child custody order that helps to protect the child from a dangerous situation. Whenever a new situation is presented that changes the original parenting plan or custody arrangement, parents are encouraged to explore all available options.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Adrian Peterson's Son Dies After Allegedly Being Assaulted," Oct. 11, 2013

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