Family Law

Judge Orders Dad to Arrange for Triplets to Visit Their Severely Disabled Mom


A woman who became severely disabled giving birth to triplets in 2006 has the right to see her children, a California judge ruled today in a temporary order pending a final resolution of the case.

The husband of Abbie Dorn, who is now 34, divorced her after she was starved of oxygen during the delivery. He had objected to taking their children to see her because, he argued, it was emotionally upsetting for the triplets and she wasn’t conscious enough to benefit from the visits because she is in a vegetative state.

However, while “there is no compelling evidence that the visitations by the children will have any benefit to Abbie,” wrote Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller, there is also “no compelling evidence that visitation with Abby will be detrimental to the children,” reports the L.A. Now blog of the Los Angeles Times.

Dorn, whose mother says she communicates by blinking yes and no answers to questions, now lives with her parents in South Carolina, who help care for her. Her former husband lives with the children in the Los Angeles area.

Shaller, in the preliminary ruling, said Dorn is entitled to an annual five-day visit from the children as well as monthly visits on Skype.

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, the ruling today is part of an ongoing family law battle in which her parents have been determined to have standing to seek visitation on her behalf and he has been trying to get a child support award from her.

According to the Associated Press and the Contra Costa Times, a rift between Dan Dorn and his former mother-in-law is not helping to resolve the custody dispute.

“The problem is Susan Cohen is irrational about her daughter’s prognosis and she wants to fill the children with false hopes that impact their well-being and their future,” attorney Vicki Greene, who represents the triplets’ father, Dan Dorn, said outside court. And her client, Greene says, “believes that only he should decide what the children are told about their mother because they have to deal with reality, and the reality is she’s never going to improve.”

Earlier coverage:

Woman Severely Disabled After Childbirth Seeks Visitation With Her Triplets

Parents of Woman Disabled in Childbirth Can Help Her Sue to Visit Triplets, Judge Says

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