Notorious Orange County Custody Case Returns to the News

A famous, and horrific, Orange County murder from two decades ago is back in the
news as a child custody and visitation case, according to the Associated Press. As the news agency reported this week, Kristine Cushing, an Orange County woman who killed her two daughters as they spelt in 1991, has reconciled with her husband. This development places Trisha Conlon, John Cushing’s second ex-wife, in the terrible position of knowing her sons will be spending custody and visitation time with a woman who killed their half-siblings.

According to the news agency, John Cushing worked to conceal his reconciliation with his first wife from Conlon, presumably well-aware that she would not approve of the couple’s two sons spending time with Kristine. The deception continued over several years and when Kristine became aware of it she went to court seeking a modification order concerning the children. The agency reports that Washington authorities recently ruled against Conlon on the grounds that the boys have been spending time with Kristine Cushing since 2008 with no apparent ill-effects and that Kristine is not technically guilty of a crime in the 1991 slayings, having been found not guilty by reason of insanity (the case is being heard in the Seattle area, where John and Kristine Cushing now live).

From the perspective of an Orange County family law attorney this case highlights how difficult and technically complex the modification of a California child custody and visitation can sometimes be.

Skilled professional counsel is especially important in cases that are both complex and emotionally charged. It is particularly important in the face of apparent setbacks to consider whether every possible legal avenue has been explored, especially when a parent can make a strong case that the best interests of the child are at stake.

AP via The New York Times: Woman who killed kids at center of custody fight