Mom Loses Custody of Kids for Having Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer in the News

A North Carolina Mom with stage 4 breast cancer must hand her children over to her ex-husband, who lives in Chicago.

The breast cancer was used as a primary reason to deny primary custody. Another reason was her unemployment status and the fact that the ex-husband is employed. An excerpt from ABC News:

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.”

“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.”

[...] In her ruling, Judge Nancy Gordon cited forensic psychologist Dr. Helen Brantley: “The more contact [the children] have with the non-ill parent, the better they do. They divide their world into the cancer world and a free of cancer world. Children want a normal childhood, and it is not normal with an ill parent.”

From NBC News:

Judge Nancy Gordon ruled that because Giordano does not have a full time job and cannot support the children, the father should get primary custody. If Giordano wants to be near her children, the judge says she should move to Chicago as well.

Giordano, however, says her friends, her support system and her doctors are all in Durham. And that’s where she wants her kids to stay.

“I mean I have nothing left to lose. I’ve kind of lost everything at this point if I lose them,” Giordano said.

These certainly aren’t all the facts in the case. Domestic abuse, restraining orders, and mental health concerns are among other allegations in a bitter divorce.

From the Daily Mail:

On her campaign blog, she claimed: ‘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.’

The fact that the breast cancer was used as a main reason for removing the children from the home is deeply disturbing. One can only imagine the emotional ramifications for these children who are being taken away from their mother and moved to a distant city at this time.

Giordano’s stage 4 breast cancer is reported to be stable and not currently progressing. The psychological toll on her is truly unimaginable.

Sources: ABC News; NBC News; Daily Mail

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TERRY R6 years ago


trina firey
Trina D. firey6 years ago

Sad to hear

Clara Bielecki
Clara Bielecki6 years ago

People get more stupid every day.The children are the most important characters in these dramas and if you don't think so, check the ones on the streets who had homes ten years ago.

Courtrooms are battlegrounds for parents who don't know how to go about this war, nor have the big money that they need for the fight of their lives. They're not havens for children about to have their worlds ripped apart. Does no one ever look at something ignorant and simply say, "This isn't working?"

Kelly J.
Kelly J.6 years ago

This totally is insane!!! We are going threw the same thing here in Ohio but ours is something a little different. my mother in-laws childcare licences was taken from her because her child was mentally challenged. This just shows how our system works they take kids that dont deserve to be taken out of the home, but these kids out in the world that are being abused that they just over look it. My mother in-law went on strike today in front of childrens services she has been strugling with 7 kids this story just blew my mind after this happened in Ohio. You need to fight this and god bless ya.

Ivan R.
Ivan R.7 years ago

This is disturbing on many levels. This decision sets a dangerous precedent in the law. The idea of a sickness precluding custody can then be interpreted to any sickness. Where do you stop? Can catching the flu cause a person to lose custody, even temporarily? This may sound ridiculous, but so does this judge's decision.

Laure H.
Laure H7 years ago

Pearl that must have been horrible.

For future "Pearls", it isn't that hard to hire a policeman to be inconspicuously on hand with a video camera for situations like this. Most cops could use the extra money - and some might e willing to do it as a good deed.

Jill E.
Jill E7 years ago

This was absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Pearl M.
Pearl M7 years ago

This is all about her ex not wanting to pay child support and the fact that he has bought his way through the court system. I'm from NC and learned this first hand...even though my ex boyfriend was abusive (it's the reason we broke up) and also hit our son, he was only 4 at the time, they gave him JOINT PHYSICAL Custody. This was in 94, when they were trying to give men custody. Joint Physical Custody meant that we shared the children every other week. We exchanged the children every Friday and during those exchanges he would bang on my door, ring the doorbell incessantly, curse me, push me, grab my children out of my arms and shove me. The 50B order didn't do anything, since a policeman had to witness this behavior. This lasted until my son turned 16 and refused to go back to his dad's and I almost got sued for not agreeing to the custody order. The only thing that saved me was my son would have gotten up in court and told the judge how it was. In our courts, it didn't matter about the abuse. It was all about who had the better attorney and the most money. I had even gone to the women's center where an attorney gave seminars about abuse and custody everything applied to me, so my father and sister borrowed 10,000.00 for his retainer, so I would have a better attorney. They used up the money in 3 months between the head attorney (@ 195 hr.) and the junior attorney (145 hr.). So you can see how quickly my money was gone, and all the attorney cared about was could I aff

Laure H.
Laure H7 years ago

If we are "all about the kids," then why is divorce such a trend, landing so many women and children in poverty, and creating custody battles that aren't really good for anyone?

I would like to suggest that if we spend any more money on education, it should be to hire successfully, long-married couples to teach relationship classes in schools, and some older-but-wiser divorced (former) couples as well. All the nitty-gritty should be covered.

Fred H.
Fred H7 years ago

Children are no more the property of mothers than wives are the property of fathers. Hundreds of fathers lose custody of children every day for reasons just as questionable. Shared custody needs to be the default position, so the incentive would be to cooperate, rather than to litigate.