Erin Carver says her ex pushed their teen into a marriage for custody

Child custody disputes are known to become increasingly dramatic. But Erin Carver, a 52-year-old mother of three, says her ex-husband took it extremely seriously, marrying their 16-year-old daughter in a “sham marriage” so she could moved with him to Florida.

Now, she’s asking the Idaho Supreme Court to stop it.

“You think about all the things that marriage represents: You think about the white dress and the first time you call yourself wife and all that special things,” Carver told The Daily Beast.

“I hope the Supreme Court reverses this, and they have the power to remove this from her record… [and] can give her back the sparkle of the white dress and ring,” she added later.

“Maybe they give it back to her, because I want to give it back.”

Carver and her ex-husband, William Hornish, were married in Florida in 2000 and moved to Idaho about a decade later. When they divorced in 2012, the court granted them joint custody of their 7-year-old daughter and her sister. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Carver described her daughter as a “good kid” and said they had always had a good relationship – until this summer, when things changed.

In her summary to the Supreme Court, Carver claimed her ex-husband abruptly announced plans to move to Florida to work and bring their young daughter with him without notice or permission from the court. judgment. She told The Daily Beast the whole process – from when he informed her of the move to when he moved their daughter across the country – took about a week. “It seemed like a surprise,” she said. (Hornish’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.)

Hornish argued in court documents that his daughter Wanted to move to Florida and she often misses school and uses marijuana while she lives with her mother. Carver denied she allowed their daughter to skip school and use drugs, but admitted that her daughter wanted to run away with her father – lured by promises of “beach and bikini”. She said she just wanted teenagers to finish their schooling in Idaho first.

Carver filed a criminal appeal against her ex-husband in July, noting the parenting time she missed by his sudden relocation. And she asked the court to bring her daughter back, and it finally did. The teen was living with her at the home when Carver received a Facebook message from Joan O’Donoughue, a neighbor of Hornish in Florida, with an allegation of trouble.

“I told him that cheating the system was crazy, unethical and immoral.”

– Joan O’Donoughue

In her affidavit, O’Donoughue said she was the mother of an 18-year-old boy who had attended kindergarten with Carver’s daughter. In mid-October last year, she claims, her son told her that Carver’s daughter had contacted him to propose. She will help him pass online classes and graduate from high school, she is said to have promised; In return, she could be released and moved to Florida.

O’Donoughue claims that when she called Hornish, he admitted to trying to marry his daughter to free her.

“I told him it was crazy, unethical, and unethical to cheat the system,” O’Donoughue wrote. “I told him he shouldn’t teach kids how to cheat the system or cheat their education.”

Carver’s daughter was 16 years old when she is said to have reached out to O’Donoghue’s son about marriage – still a child in the eyes of the law and many in society. But the marriage of children under the age of 18 is still legal in the vast majority of US states, provided the parents or a judge agree. Researchconducted by the nonprofit Unchained at Last against child marriage, found nearly 300,000 married minors in the US between 2000 and 2018.

Fraidy Reiss, executive director of Unchained at Last, told The Daily Beast she often hears survivors recount people who were forced into marriage by both parents. (Recorded by The Daily Beast one of such cases last year.) But her organization has long warned of the possibility that child marriage could be used as a target in detention cases like this one.

“This is what we’ve been warning about for years, and now here’s your prime example,” she said. “Parents can too easily use that to their own advantage in a previous divorce.”

When Carver learned of her ex-husband’s alleged plan to marry their daughter, she said she was so terrified she pulled over. The next day, she applied to the court to suspend Hornish’s ability to consent to the marriage of their daughter.

The judge did not see the order until a week later, on November 5, when he was preparing the file for a hearing on the case. He signed the order immediately, then explained in court that he felt there could be “irreparable harm or damage to the child if the court does not accept it.”

But it’s already too late. On November 1, Carver’s daughter married a Caldwell, Idaho teenager, whom Carver said she had never met or spoken to. The teenager was liberated that day.

Given his daughter’s new status, a judge in the Ada County Magistrates’ Court ruled that he had no choice but to dismiss Carver’s petition for custody. But he gave her an appeal to the Supreme Court of Idaho, which ruled that “the best interests of the child shall be served by an immediate appeal to the Supreme Court.”

“How do other parents protect their rights to prevent this kind of thing?”

– Justice Robyn Brody

During a hearing on Friday, Carver’s attorney told the court that the marriage should never have been authorized, as the judge would have enforced her petition if he had seen it in time. . He asked the judges to allow that petition to be enforced retroactively, which could render the marriage null and void. Meanwhile, Hornish’s attorney argued that the court did not have the authority to do so, and that forcible reinstatement of the petition would be a violation of his client’s rights.

At one point, the judges expressed frustration with Hornish’s attorney, asking if he had any evidence that the teenager’s marriage was anything but a sham intended to escape. avoid court order or not.

“How are other parents defending their right to prevent this kind of thing?” Justice Robyn Brody asked suspiciously. “Do we now have to issue our divorce decrees… [that] Parents can not give consent for this child’s marriage? Will that become a regular part of our legal profession? “

Hornish’s attorney replied that it probably would.

Carver hopes that the outcome of the case will be different, and that it will instead help limit a child’s right of one parent to consent to marriage. While she wants the Court to help reverse her daughter’s marriage, she said, she also wants to help other families who are in similar situations.

“With just one signature, my ex-husband was able to take away my parental rights, take away my constitutional rights,” she said. “He’s handcuffing the judge, he’s actively deciding where our kids might be.”

She added: “But that’s way too much power, and that should never be allowed.” Erin Carver says her ex pushed their teen into a marriage for custody

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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