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Judge grants custody of orphaned girl to her mother's cousin.

The custody of the nine-month-old orphaned daughter of Chiefs Linebacker Jovan Belcher was granted to her mother's cousin after a custody hearing. The court chose between the mother's cousin and the girl's paternal grandmother. Other members of the family were also involved in the custody proceedings. The infant girl was orphaned when her father killed her mother and then committed suicide.

In deciding this child custody situation, the judge, who felt both women would have made satisfactory guardians for the girl, considered the girl's best chance for a stable and secure home in the future. In his ruling, he also included that the other people involved in the proceedings would retain the role of family members.

In his ruling, the judge included a message for all people involved in the case that explained his choice. According to what the judge wrote, in choosing the mother's cousin as the infant's guardian, the court had considered all the evidence that had been submitted, which included testimony by expert witnesses. The court concluded that residing with the mother's cousin was in the best interest of the child and her best chance at a stable and permanent home.

Other considerations in the case included that any money the girl receives would be managed by a corporate fiduciary. Both women had agreed to this as part of the proceedings and a conservator for the girl's estate was named.

When deciding child custody conflicts, courts are vigilant of the best interest of the child. However, each state has different laws and considerations regarding child custody. There are many intricacies related to child custody, and a lawyer could explain them and guide the parties towards the best possible child custody agreement.

Source: NBC Sports, "Custody of Zoey Belcher awarded to mother’s cousin", Josh Alper, June 20, 2013