Local News

Durham mom seeks stay in custody case

Posted June 2, 2011

— A Durham mother and her supporters filed dozens of pages of documents with a judge Thursday in support of her bid to retain custody of her children. 

Judge Nancy Gordon issued an order April 25 that Alaina Giordano's two children should go to live with their father, Giordano's estranged husband Kane Snyder. Among the reasons Gordon gave for her decision was Giordano's breast cancer diagnosis.

Friends and doctors wrote to Gordon that Giordano is a “devoted mother” who “loves them with all her heart" and "does not suffer from a medical condition which has a significant current impact on her ability to care for her children.”

Giordano has appealed Gordon's ruling, which would take effect June 17. On Thursday, she asked for a stay so that Gordon might reconsider.

Chicago attorney Jeffrey Leving, who represents Giordano's estranged husband, says Gordon's decision wasn't based entirely on Giordano's medical condition.

According to the order, Snyder had also been concerned about his wife's state of mind, saying she had suicidal thoughts and that, for a while, she disengaged in conventional treatment for her cancer.

"This is clearly not a case about breast cancer," Leving said. "The judge issued a well-reasoned opinion with 123 paragraphs of findings of fact and reached conclusions of the law."

"The reality here is that the mother is unemployed, and the father works," Leving said. "He's not divorced. He hasn't filed for divorce. He's maintaining the mother on his health care, on his health insurance to help her and support the treatment she needs."

"(Snyder) is a good man, a good husband and a good father," Leving said. 


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  • Morrisvilleguy Jun 3, 2011

    " The father needs to leave the children with their mother period!!!!" -spartanpirate

    Thank God you're not a judge. Those kids are not her personal property. It is inappropriate for her or you to insist they be used as magical talisman's to fight her breast cancer. That's not fair to them. The question the judge had to answer is which parent could best provide for the kids. The answer was clearly and with no doubts or equivocation the dad. People like you get kids hurt when you insist the mother always and only gets custody and the dad gets used like an ATM machine. These children are just as much his as they are hers. Get over it.

  • Morrisvilleguy Jun 3, 2011

    No, the father is not a monster. What is happening here is mother's family is trying to ensure that after the mother passes the children to not go to their father. The father would win in court eventually, but at a loss of years and much $$. The test in any custody case is what is in the best interests of the child(ren). It is not in the children's best interests to be in that situation nor is it in their best interests to have their mothers family attempt to grab custody now before the mother passes. There is a monster here, but it's not the father. I can understand her relatives wanting to keep her memory alive, but they cannot have her, vicariously, through her and her husbands kids. As long as the dad is found to be a fit parent, he is the best positioned to provide a home for the kids.

  • spartanpirate Jun 3, 2011

    The father is a monster. The mother needs to spend as much time possible with her children. Number 1 it gives her the will to fight this disease and yes miracles do happen. Two it gives the children memories that they will have the rest of their lives if their mother does succomb to this disease. The father needs to leave the children with their mother period!!!!

    What kind of father is he if he takes away the chance for the children to spend all the time that they can with a mother that has cancer. I would hate to be him at the gates of heaven. I hope he enjoys hell for eternity.

  • Morrisvilleguy Jun 3, 2011

    I have to ask how many of you have any clue as to what you're talking about. *IF* we actually believe that fathers are just as reponsible for their child as is the mother then this "how dare that judge take those kids away from their mother" nonsense needs to stop. The mother is no more and no less a parent to those children than is dad. If that's not true, then child support is nothing but a money grab. Either the father has just as much a right to custody of the children as does the mother or he doesn't, if he doesn't then let's call a duck a duck. The children would be nothing more than the mother's personal property fit for her to do as she wills. If he doesn't this state needs to cease assessing child support. Everyone gets all hot and bothered about dead beat dads, but how dare the father that is responsible and does love his children, how dare he argue for custody of his kids. This is a simple case, both parents want custody, both parents are fit, one parent is terminal. There i

  • rightisright58 Jun 3, 2011

    "(Snyder) is a good man, a good husband and a good father," Leving said.

    The Court of public opinion may partially disagree with this statement. There really is no indication as to how good of a man he is; however, there is plenty of information provided as to what type of husband and father he is. Previous news reports stated that the Judge offered Ms. Giordano equal visitation with her children if she would move to Chicago! Her medical team is at Duke. A woman with Stage 4 breast cancer does not need to be under any further stress! She knows that she is going to die; just not when. Her time with her children is already limited. How can a "husband" and "father" do this to his wife AND children? As the children get older, they will develop a strong resentment towards their father if he doesn't allow this special time with their Mother. Apparently, he plans to fight her on this. Judges issue Orders that affect peoples lives profoundly. A lot of times negatively...

  • MonkeyFace Jun 3, 2011

    I'm gonna have to go with beachlver on this one.

  • dirkdiggler Jun 3, 2011

    who wouldnt struggle with suicidal thoughts after being diagnosed with breast cancer? anyone who's ever seen someone die from cancer knows that suicide is a much easier way to die than to rot from the inside out.

    she 'at one point' stopped traditional treatment. so what? as adults, are we required by law to get chemotherapy or are we allowed to make our own decisions in regards to the treatment of our illnesses?

    this is ridiculous. her estranged husband doesn't sound like a 'good man' to me....he sounds like a power hungry guy who is twisting his wife's misfortune into something it's not for his own benefit.

    it's bad enough these kids might lose their mom to cancer....now daddy wants to step in and rush the losing process? ya, nice guy alright....

  • beachlvr0804 Jun 2, 2011

    I understand the father works out of state. The right thing for him to do is to see if he can be transferred with his company if possible and move back so that he can help take care of his kids and give his wife the most possible time with her children with the time she has left......... He won't regret it...... He'll being giving his children what they need and deserve. Once she passes he'll have all the time in the world with them. If he doesn't do this his children will one day resent him for taking them away from their mother when they could have been together.

  • sunruner13 Jun 2, 2011

    Morrisvilleguy: Your grandson still didn't win. He lost in the situation that resulted in your going after custody. It's better for any child to have a healthy and loving relationship with their parent... they lose when that's not possible, regardless of the reason. He just got the best result he could out of a bad situation.

  • Morrisvilleguy Jun 2, 2011

    That's not true. As the custodial grandparents of our only grandchild we had to fight an alcoholic and irresponsible father and a mentally ill coke head for custody of our grandchild. Our grandchild won, finally, after suffering brain damage and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. He is now safe. *IF* the custody dispute is between two sober and sane people you would be correct. But when you're dealing with addicts and persons with profound mental health issues that prevent them from being safe towards or around the child, different question entirely.