Cancer and Child Custody

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A judge told Alaina Giordano that she could no longer have primary custody of her two children because she has breast cancer<.

The judge's ruling said that "Mother's health is concerning to this court, in large part because the course of her disease is unknown." Giordano was 19 when her mom died of breast cancer.

The judge decided to give Giordano and the kids' father, Kane Snyder, joint physical custody. However, Snyder lives all the way out in Chicago.

The judge ruled it made more sense for the children to move to Chicago since Snyder is the sole provider for the family, instead of Snyder moving to Durham.

However, Giodarno said she can't leave her Duke doctors, and her daughter doesn't want to leave Durham.

"What really needs to happen is to see some statute get passed so that other families can't be hurt, like my children and I have been, by a system that allows a parent to use an illness or a diagnosis against another parent in a custody suit," Giodarno said.

However, Snyder's attorneys said they never brought up Alaina's illness, while the psychologist appointed by the court did.

The judge cited a forensic psychologist when writing in her ruling, "The more contact (the children) have with the non-ill parent, the better they do. They divide their world into the cancer world and a free of cancer world. Children want a normal childhood, and it is not normal with an ill parent."

Giordano has appealed the ruling to move the children to Chicago. A judge issued a temporary stay on the ruling and is expected to hear the appeal in about a month.