Children divorce parents too, sometimes. These rights have been granted to children in Patrick's law. As explained on the page Children Divorce, parents are not the only ones that can divorce. Children can divorce parents too in some states.
The first child that divorced from his parent is Patrick Holland. The real life story began in October 1998:
Patrick's parents were separated at that time and in the process of divorce. One night, his father broke into the house by smashing a window with a set of golf clubs. He walked into the sleeping room of his mother and he fired 10 bullets in her body. She died.
Patrick, 8 years old at that time, was sleeping in the room next to his
mother. He certainly woke up and after his father had left the house,
he found his mother.
Dead. Blood was all over her.
The mother of Patrick had followed additional education and worked as a nurse. She managed quite well to earn her own income to support herself and Patrick in a sustainable way. His mother had obtained a court order that his father was not allowed to come close to her home. It did not help.
His father was put in jail for life, without the possibility of parole. He has been incinerated in the Souza-Baranowski Center.
Being his father, he was still responsible for his son. As a parent, he had the right to access the school reports of his son and he was allowed to see the weekly counseling sessions of Patrick. Until Patrick should reach the age of 18.
Patrick however, did not want to have anything to do with his father anymore. Patrick said he believes his father lost the right to be a parent because he killed his mother. He might have asked himself: can children divorce parents?
After the murder, Patrick went to live with 2 very dear friends of his mother. They battled in court over the custody of Patrick against the parents of his father. Luckily they won and Patrick could stay with them.
When Patrick's father asked how Patrick was doing at school, they had no option but to answer the questions. Patrick did not want to do that. He wanted never to have to deal with his father again. They found the possibility to file for children divorce parents and they started the procedure to retain the parental rights from his father.
Normally, in situations of derailed families, a court takes away the parenting rights from the parents and gives the child custody to somebody else. In this situation it is Patrick that asked to divorce from his father. This was the first case of children divorce parents.
At the age of 14, Patrick had to appear in court to defend his case. There he had to testify in court about his feelings towards his father.
People around Patrick were afraid that all the publicity would hurt him. Fortunately it worked out just the other way. Patrick appeared in talk shows and apparently talking about the situation supported him a lot.
&rlquo;Patrick's Law” is the bill named in his honor. This law states that parental rights are automatically terminated when one parent murders the other. Only if the child chooses otherwise or if the surviving parent was the victim of domestic violence, the parent keeps his or her parental rights. The bill is submitted by Peter Koutoujian in conjunction with Jane Doe Inc., Jane Doe is an organization fighting domestic violence.
More information about Divorce Law
Return to Divorce and Children.