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Polygamist sect leader grants child custody to wife

Some Texas residents may have heard of Warren and Lyle Jeffs, two brothers who head a radical sect of the Mormon church. While Warren Jeffs is considered the leader, he is currently in prison, and his brother Lyle is in the process of going through a divorce from his first wife. Because the sect encourages polygamy, it is believed that she is one of several wives. In April, a judge granted her primary custody after hearings in which she said she feared her children would be taken away from her.

The couple have a 14-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son, and they will see their father during the summer and every other weekend. According to the mother's lawyer, many large trucks have been leaving the church compound, and he believes that children are being moved.

The couple agreed to meet in a park with sheriff's deputies present in order to transfer the children, and Lyle Jeffs' wife expressed concern that her husband would not comply if everything was not done exactly as he stated. It is not known how handoffs of the children will happen in the future. When Jeffs signed the document granting primary custody to his wife, he noted that he was doing so under duress.

Negotiating custody can be difficult even in less complicated cases. Even when both parents are focused on the best interest of the child, they may have different ideas about what those best interests are. However, it is generally better for the child if the parents can get along well enough to communicate on child care matters. Parents who are struggling to resolve custody issues may want to discuss mediation or other strategies with their respective attorneys.

Source: NBCDFW, "Polygamist leader's first wife fights for custody of kids," June 10, 2015

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