US judge sends Jason Corbett's 'precious' children home
THE family of the children caught up in a custody battle in the US have said that they are delighted that Jack (10) and Sarah (8) Corbett will be home by the weekend.
It comes after a judge in the US said Jason Corbett’s second wife would not have been given custody of his children even if the deceased man had not appointed a legal guardian in his will.
Clerk of Davidson County Superior Court Brian Shipwash said that it was not in the best interests of Jason Corbett’s children to award custody to their American stepmother.
The judge recognised that Mr Corbett had appointed his sister Tracey Lynch and her husband David as guardians to his children.
However, he said that under the circumstances he would have granted guardianship to Mr and Mrs Lynch in the absence of a will.
“I was asked to make such a decision on the lives of two incredibly precious children who have had to deal with the deaths of both their natural parents,” Mr Shipwash said.
“To have peace with my decision, I removed the outside influencing factors and evaluated at the purity of what would be in the children’s best interest in a positive, loving and supportive environment to develop and mature,” he added.
Jack and Sarah’s father Jason Corbett was killed on August 2 after a domestic incident at his home in North Carolina.
Their mother, Mags, died in 2006 after suffering an asthma attack.
A gathering of close family and friends in Limerick yesterday waited patiently for the news that the children were now free to leave the US with their aunt Tracey Lynch.
Their uncle John Corbett said they were all delighted with the news.
“It is wonderful, after all that we have been through, that we can put this sorry saga behind us,” he said.
“All we want to do now is get them home and bury our brother next week,” he added.
Jack and Sarah Corbett are expected to arrive home this weekend.
The mother of Jason Corbett's late wife Mags said Jason had wanted to bring his children home to Ireland before he died.
Marian Fitzpatrick, whose daughter Mags died following an asthma attack in 2006, told Newstalk's Breakfast today that Jason's children Jack (10) and Sarah (8) belong in Ireland.
"He was going to come home. Lately he was getting a bit homesick," she said.
When Jason's funeral takes place next week, his parents Rita and John can be comforted by the fact that their grandchildren will be in Ireland, she said.
"It is going to be very sad. I think there's a bit of happiness there as well that they know they can bury him and Rita and John know the children can be at home in Ireland.
The judge said he deliberated long and hard over his decision and prayed for the children.
“The named guardians can provide that (care needed) so after much legal research, deliberation, thought and prayer, these children will return to Ireland,” he said.
Mr Shipwash concluded that applying custody to Molly Martens Corbett was not in their best interests in light of all of the facts and evidence.
Mrs Martens Corbett is a suspect in the murder of Jason Corbett, who was found dead at his home earlier this month, bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat.
The judge said he had considered that an investigation in to Mr Corbett’s death was still ongoing.
It also emerged in court that in 2013, Molly Martens Corbett had confided in a family friend that she had sought legal advice about divorce and gaining custody of the children.
One year later she approached an attorney to discuss her rights to the children.
She discussed adopting the children with Mr Corbett on a number of occasions, but he did not consent to a step-parent adoption.
Family members said that this was a bone of contention between the couple and they had fought about it just weeks before Mr Corbett’s death.
Police have described her as a person of interest after their father was found dead in his home earlier this month.
Her father Thomas Martens is the other suspect.
She left the court room in tears with 30 friends and family.
However, the Lynch family said that they were delighted with the ruling.
Their lawyer Kim Bonuomo said her clients were relieved that they can return home with their niece and nephew.
“They’re relieved to take the children with them so they can love them and help them process their grief and take care of them,” she added.