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US

Girl who divorced parents may now lose son in court battle

Mays
Mays leaves the courthouse  

June 25, 1999
Web posted at: 8:28 p.m. EDT (0028 GMT)

ORLANDO, Florida (CNN) -- Kimberly Mays, once the target of a bitter court battle after being switched with another baby at birth, learned Friday she must go to court July 26 to attempt to win back custody of her infant son.

Last April, the state of Florida took 22-month-old Deven away from Mays, 20, and her estranged husband, Jeremy Weeks. No criminal charges were filed, and a spokesman with Florida's Children & Family Services said poor parenting skills were involved.

But earlier this month, Weeks, 21, won a restraining order against Mays, telling the judge he was "yelled at constantly, slapped, hit with her fists" and that Mays "aimed knives at me and is constantly out of control."

Mays denied the allegations.

A social worker told the family court judge on Friday that Mays has made "significant" progress in her "case plan" to retain custody of her baby. Mays and her attorney did not attend the hearing. Weeks was in court accompanied by his family.

Mays became the subject of intense media interest in 1988 when she fought a legal battle to "divorce" her biological parents after they sought custody upon discovering they had been given the wrong baby years earlier at the hospital.

Child psychologist Alan Delamater said Mays' domestic problems should be no surprise considering her history.

  • At age 9, Mays learned she'd been switched at birth with a girl who later died of heart disease.

  • Mays sued to "divorce" her biological parents, Regina and Ernest Twiggs. After five years, at age 14, she won the right to call Robert Mays her legal father.

  • At age 15, Kimberly ran away from Robert Mays, the man who raised her, and moved in with the Twiggs.

  • At 17, Mays ran away to a YMCA shelter, saying she needed time away. She later bounced back and forth between both sets of parents.

  • Less than a year later, she married Weeks

"It should come as no surprise that the kind of person who's had such a troubled past would have difficulties in their marriage and difficulties with their child," said Delamater.

Child advocates say in order for the separated young couple to win back their baby, time and therapy are necessary. Both requirements that Kimberly Mays is all too familiar with.

Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.



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Florida Department of Children & Families
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