A Mother’s Struggle: How Far Would You Fight for Your Child?
Would You Stop Fighting For Your Child?
After the uphill battle of making a better life for their children, Hayla Henson and her loving husband moved to South Carolina with the promise of consistent work and a house where their children could grow up in. Hayla dreamed of her own daughter and son having their own rooms and playing in the backyard of their home.
On August 23rd, 2018, Hayla and her husband‘s lives got turned upside down when the judge presiding over their case shattered their plans and dreams of a beautiful childhood for both their children. Family court had decided in favor of Hayla’s daughter’s biological father by granting full medical advocacy to him with joint custody and refused to allow Hayla’s daughter, Dylan, to move to South Carolina. Instead, the judge alotted Hayla only to have five weeks in the summer, one full weekend per month, February and April vacations, only some days of Christmas vacation, and the ability to visit Dylan if she gave notice 15 days in advance.
Dissecting A Judge’s Ruling From The Court Papers
For viewing pleasure, the inclusion of the three pages of Hayla’s court ruling papers are unmared by highlights. These are the actual court papers that Hayla was given. Before the exploration and dissection of these court papers, it is important to form one’s own opinion before the opinion of another is given.
Before the dissection begins, this article is duly noted that it has a bias interest in Hayla’s story. Other names that should be addressed is the judge presiding over the case, Judge Michael L. Alfano, and her daughter’s biological father, Noah Lord.
Hayla’s Actual Court Papers Of The Ruling
Calling Out Judge Michael L. Alfano’s Credibility To Judge
Although the court papers never used the first person narrative, it is assumed that the terms ’The Court’ alludes to Judge Michael Alfano since he is representing ‘The Court’ as a presiding judge in this particular case. Essentially, it is safe to assume that it is the judge’s own personal concerns then?
A judge is meant to preside over the case without bias and to gather all facts to make an unbiased decision since it is not about one man’s personal opinion. It is about the actual best interest of the child. How can anyone garner any actual decision when details aren’t accurate and the right questions were never asked or explored?
As a representation of ’The Court’, he should be held in the highest standards to be a truth seeker. The truth is devoid of any egotism, because the truth isn’t about personal opinion. The truth is the truth.
Erroneous Information Concluded By The Presiding Judge
- Within the court papers, The Court claimed that Hayla was pregnant with her third child (check out the second image under “1. The Relocation is for a Legitimate Purpose” in the first paragraph). Hayla has only two children and she isn’t pregnant with her third child so how did Judge Michael Alfano arrive at this information. Hayla wouldn’t ’credibly testify‘ that she was with her third child if she was indeed not pregnant. If it wasn’t the judge that arrived to that conclusion then who gave him that information to begin with?
- ”The Court temporarily delegates all medical decisions for the child solely to Father” (Check out the last image in the second to last paragraph). The entire paragraph before outlines why Judge Michael Alfano came to this conclusion. He claimed the she presented no credible evidence of any exemption even though she submitted the notarized form ’Certificate Of Religious Exemption’ (check out image below section). He then said that she claimed religious exemption, but she didn’t provide any evidence of belonging to any religion that opposes vaccinations.
According to Hayla, he never once questioned her about her religious beliefs and only questioned Noah. She is a part of a religion called Christian Science. Although, Christian Science is ambigious about their stance on vaccination, it is safe to assume though that vaccines aren’t on the top of their list considering Christian Science believes in prayer and faith healing over medicine.
- ”The Court believes the child needs frequent, continuous contact with both parents. When Mother decided to move, it meant that one of the parents would have less time with the child. The move was not inevitable...” (Check second image under ”3. Best Interests” in the second paragraph).
Considering that in the above paragraphs The Court did determine that Hayla had “legitimate purpose and to provide a better standard of living for Mother and family” then why does The Court seem to think differently in this other section by believing the move was then not inevitable?
The lead into the above statement is The Court meaning Judge Michael Alfano “believes that the child needs frequent, continuous contact with both parents” then it is safe to assume he also believes “when Mother decided to move, it meant that one of the parents would have less time with the child”. It clearly states later on in the paragraph that “Mother attempted to move with child in 2016, and after the Court became involved, she moved back“. It is safe to possibly assume that Judge Michael Alfano believes that Hayla is attempting to limit her daughter’s contact with Noah.
If assumptions are being passed about then it should be noted that in 2016, Hayla and her husband found themselves homeless and had decided to relocate to South Carolina. However, she had been in contact with Noah about what was happening and was blindsided by Noah when he decided to get the courts involved. Also, it should be noted that there was no child support order and Hayla never demanded it. It is even noted in the court papers themselves that child support was never demanded. They both shared joint custody and Dylan spent her time with both parents. It seems that Hayla tried her best to be fair when it came to her daughter and the father of her daughter attempting to keep open communication.
If Judge Michael Alfano did believe Hayla was planning on keeping Dylan from Noah, wouldn’t he have taken the above into account if he was questioning her intergity and character? Wouldn’t he have questioned her about the specifics of what happened in 2016 to get a better understanding of the situation?
However, given Father’s involvement with the child, and Mother’s decision to move out of State, the Court finds it would be in the child’s best interest to remain here in New Hampshire. Father has a family support system here, including his girlfriend and his Mother.— Michael L. Alfano
In The Best Interest Of Whom?
It seems like another sad story of a family now broken and divided by a ruling made in family court. Sometimes, life isn’t fair and the most carefully laid out plans refuse to come into play. Maybe Dylan’s father could afford to provide for his daughter? Maybe her father could provide the same residency situation that Hayla could provide? Maybe the state required children to be vaccinated and Hayla didn’t honor state regulation?
Then by all means, it is understandable that the judge ruled in his favor.
Except New Hampshire is an exempt state for medical and religious circumstances. Hayla did follow and file the correct form with proper notarization before this case was presented. Not only that, the previous judge that presided over everything from the beginning and mysteriously is no longer in charge of proceedings had also informed her that no vaccines approach and homeschooling wouldn’t effect relocation. So how does Judge Michael Alfano determine Noah has primary control of health decisions unless he feels he is above the law?
It also worth mentioning that Dylan’s biological father only works two days a week, lives in his parents’ house with his girlfriend, and Dylan would only be living in the corner of his room. Hayla and her husband are currently in the middle of building their home, but they are renting a house in South Carolina. This house would allow Dylan to have her own room. Financially, Hayla owns a small business and her husband is a contractor. Even without the assistance of her husband, she would still make more than Noah.
So how does a judge rule in favor of a father that can’t provide financially on his own, can’t provide adequate housing for his own daughter, and become the primary medical advocate to his daughter in the first place?
Is It Really Joint Custody?
Judge Michael Alfano ruled joint custody with a twist. Hayla would have to live in New Hampshire to be considered relevant. If Judge Michael Alfano was that concerned about providing Dylan with both parents then joint custody should work no matter what state either parent lives in since it is in the best interest of the child not the court or the state jurisdiction.
Hayla had hoped for an arrangement that would outline the terms of joint custody from the very beginning. Since inevitably Dylan would be living with Noah, she would be attending school in New Hampshire.
There are 12 months in a year. A school year is 180 days, which calculates to 5.918 months. It would be half a year that would be granted to Dylan’s biological father due to education. The other half of the year should be allotted to Hayla if supposedly following joint custody.
However, Hayla is only allowed five weeks of summer, one full weekend per month, February vacation, and April vacation. All in all that’s estimated 71 days. That is 2.33424 months not even two and half months. Essentially, Noah would have have roughly the majority of 10 months and Hayla would have only two months.
When A Judge Shouldn’t Judge
Judging by the errors in his determining what was best for Dylan, Judge Michael Alfano didn’t deliver a fair ruling. He didn’t even take into consideration that Noah wasn’t financially competent to provide for Dylan. Yes, it is easy to pay for daycare when living rent free in one’s mother’s house, but could he handle the responsibility beyond daycare and actually provide the financial support Dylan needs if more pressing matters came to pass?
Not once does the court papers touch upon how Noah would or could provide the care and comfort that Hayla could provide now. Wouldn’t that be something important to consider when making a fair and just ruling especially when it is in the best interest of the child in question?
Do You Believe The Ruling Was Fair?
Deadline To Appeal Is Approaching
The ruling by the presiding judge was devastating to Hayla and her family. The deadline to appeal is by October 18th of this year is sadly approaching. With her and her husband’s finances tied into paying for their lawyer, they don’t have the funds to appeal the judge’s ruling and gain another lawyer.
She has started a fundraiser to help raise more money, but realistically and heartbreakingly, she knows that the possibility of gaining enough funds is slim to nil, Hayla and her husband refuse to backdown. Even if she can’t appeal, the fight is not over and she will continue to fight the legal battle for her child.
© 2018 Meg Gallagher