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Mother charged with arson after losing child custody case

There may be few circumstances in life that elicit stronger emotions than deciding which parent may be better suited for providing the primary care for minor children whenever a relationship ends. However, while the battle over child custody can become emotionally exhausting, the majority of these cases will not end in criminal charges. Unfortunately, there are some parents in California and elsewhere who may become unstable when they lose physical custody of a child.

One mother, however, took losing custody of her children to a terrifying degree. According to police reports, the home where her children were residing was purposely set ablaze. Though the family was able to exit the burning structure safely, the flames reportedly came within several feet from the location where the children were sleeping. Investigators discovered that the fire was a result of arson.

Video footage from a neighboring home reportedly captured images of a vehicle that fit a description of one that is registered to the children's mother. In addition, officials stated that the vehicle was also reported to be at the scene of another fire a day earlier where a third child resides with the father of record. The charged woman allegedly made statements to others that if she could not be awarded custody of her children, then no one else would have them either.

Police reported that family claimed the woman demanded payment of an estimated $3,500 or else she would set fire to the structures. She has been arrested and charged with multiple arson and endangerment-related offenses. While this is an extreme situation, California parents who cannot come to terms on their own with an agreeable child custody plan may seek the advice of a family law professional who can help the parties arrive at an arrangement that best meets the needs of the children involved.

Source:, "PD: Mother sets fire to Tempe home with kids inside", Joe Enea, April 11, 2017

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