In an emotional arraignment, felony neglect charges were brought against a Warren, Michigan man over the death of his morbidly obese, bedridden wife. The man was the primary caregiver for his wife and allegedly, while under his care, her health was allowed to deteriorate. When rescue personnel responded to the 9-1-1 call, she was found lying in her own waste. Professionals believe she was likely in that state for at least eight or nine days. The man was emotional and devastated by the loss of his wife.
The couple has four children between the ages of two and thirteen. Authorities who responded to the 9-1-1 calls reported that the apartment the family was living in was uninhabitable. The children had no beds or mattresses and the fridge was empty with only rotting meat in one shelf. As a result of the neglect charges and conditions in the apartment, Child Protective Services removed the children from his custody. All four children are now with the man's sister. The judge at the arraignment hearing has ordered that the man have no contact with the children or the sister they are currently living with.
The case above is a tragic case and, in the best interest of the children, they have been taken away from the man. However, in Michigan when dealing with child custody issues in a family law situation, the courts apply a 12-factor test when determining custody. These factors include the type of relationship that exists between the child and the parent, the parent's ability to care for the child and make decisions for the child, whether the environment is satisfactory and stable, domestic violence issues, and more.
Given that the man in the case above is facing neglect charges and the apartment was uninhabitable, it is in the children's best interest to be removed. When a parent is facing an emotional circumstance, as in the case above, or is overwhelmed with an ongoing divorce proceeding, it may be helpful to get an honest assessment from an expert familiar with the 12-factors to determine custody issues.
Source: LSJ, "Michigan man arraigned in death of obese wife, attorney calls case tragic," Christina Hall, Nov. 1, 2012