Durham mom with cancer decries court's custody ruling

Posted August 12, 2011 4:14 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2011 7:23 p.m. EDT

— The children in a custody dispute that's gained national attention because of their mother's claim that a court used her cancer against her are going to live with their father.

The state Supreme Court this week denied a request by Alaina Giordano, of Durham, asking for a hold on a lower court's order giving custody to the father until her appeal of that ruling has been decided, according to court records.

The court's decision means the two children, who are 11 and 6, will be heading to live with their father in Chicago. The move should take place within a week, according to Jeffery Leving, a Chicago lawyer representing the father, Kane Snyder.

"We hope the mother will be supportive of the children's relocation process and not engage in tactics that are designed to influence the children in a negative manner," Leving said. "The children should not be put in the middle of the court process."

The Supreme Court decision affirms an earlier decision by the state Court of Appeals to let the custody order stand.

Giordano will now devote her energies to her appeal of the custody order made earlier this year by Durham District Court Judge Nancy Gordon, she said in a statement.

"In the wake of this legal decision, my children and I now must grieve the pending loss of each other," Giordano wrote.

The case has drawn national attention and thousands of online supporters for Giordano over her claim that the original custody ruling was based on her Stage 4 breast cancer.

Facebook pages and online petitions were full of outraged comments over the decision, although few of the supporters quoted extensively from the 27-page ruling, which is more complex.

While Gordon mentioned Giordano's cancer and uncertainty over her long-term health, the judge also made numerous criticisms of both parents' conduct.

The judge did praise Giordano and Snyder for their love of their children and cited a court-appointed psychiatrist's report that the case has no easy resolution.

Giordano has said she doesn't want to move to Chicago, where she would have greater custody rights, because she's confident in the treatment she's receiving in Durham. In her statement on Friday, she said she does plan to visit them in Chicago.