Local News

Durham mom seeks stay in custody case

Posted June 2, 2011 3:22 p.m. EDT

— 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.