Mindy McCready's custody battle in Florida, son stays in Arkansas

    10:58 PM, Feb 22, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV/WINK) - A court has decided the custody battle of a country singer's son will stay in Florida, while the boy lives in Arkansas.

    In November, McCready took her son from his grandparents, who had legal custody of him. She and Zander were found in Arkansas a few weeks later.

    McCready wants Zander to stay in Arkansas, while his father thinks he should be taken to Florida. McCready's attorney says she's taken parental classes, and has passed all drug tests. 

    WINK tells Today's THV that Arkansas case workers have offered to use taxpayer money to bring Zander's father, Billy McKnight, from Florida to Arkansas to visit his son once a month. They've also offered to pay his hotel and transportation costs.

    The case has basically turned into a tug of war match.

    Arkansas wants jurisdiction over country singer Mindy McCready's custody case, but officials in Florida say the case belongs there.

    "It would be more appropriate to transfer this case to Arkansas."

    That's what a representative from social services in Arkansas told the court earlier this week.  Stating 5-year-old Zander McCready is thriving in his current situation, going to school and seeing a therapist.

    But the attorney for his dad, Billy McKnight wants him back in Florida where his legal guardians live.

    A Florida judge has decided to keep jurisdiction, but allow Zander to remain in Arkansas foster care until the details can be worked out.

    In the meantime Amy Webb with the Arkansas Department of Human Services says, these cases aren't common, but do occur.

    "We're a very mobile society these days, so sometimes we take kids into our custody even though they're not from Arkansas because for whatever reason they're here.

    One issue raising eyebrows in Arkansas though, DHS may agree to pay travel and hotel expenses for McKnight to come here to visit once a month.

    Webb says they do what is best for the child in these circumstances even if Arkansas taxpayers have to foot the bill.

    "In some cases in out of state cases we look at the financial impact. Would it be better for the taxpayers to pay for a flight for a parent on occasion for a short time period or would it be better for the taxpayers to pay multiple times to have case-workers fly to the other state, stay there several days so they could testify or have the child fly back and forth."

    Now, the Florida judge is writing an order to force the judge here in Arkansas to hand over the case, but that judge may not comply.

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