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Mother of murdered neurologist seeks child support for grandchild

Georgia residents may have heard about a case that has received nationwide attention, involving a 64-year-old man who is in jail after being charged with killing his wife. The maternal grandmother, who lives in Maryland, was granted custody of the couple's six-year-old daughter in August. She then filed a petition seeking child support.

All but one of the man's bank accounts were frozen by court order. He is permitted to access a bank account containing $280,000 for the purpose of paying legal expenses. Those assets may also be used to pay restitution if he is convicted. The grandmother is now asking to have money to help with the expenses associated with child custody. Her petition is scheduled for a hearing on Sept. 18.

The child's 41-year-old mother worked as the chief of neurology at The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her husband also worked there as a researcher. The woman was ill for three days and died on Apr. 20. An examination revealed that cyanide was the cause of death. The husband was arrested after police linked his credit card to a large cyanide purchase.

The law allows a grandparent to seek custody of a child in certain cases, such as where the mutual relative is deceased. The public policy that supports requiring a parent to pay support to a child also supports paying support to whoever has custody, even if that person is not the biological parent of the child. A local family law attorney may be able to help grandparents seek custody of grandchildren when it is in the best interests of the child. An attorney may also be able to help establish child support to help the grandparent pay for the child's expenses.

Source: CBS News, "Autumn Klein Update: Maternal grandmother seeks child support from Pa. researcher accused in wife's cyanide killing", Stephanie Slifer, August 13, 2013