News | Trending

Single Father Faces Custody Battle With Couple Who Helped Take Care Of His Kids

Lynn Wooley/Facebook

Raising children can be hard, especially if you're a single parent.

Although the love you have for your child does make up for any of the hardships you go through as a caregiver, it doesn't mean they aren't there.

So as a single parent, it's necessary to have a strong support system who are always there for you in your time of need. Sadly, for a father from Fort Worth, Texas, his trust in a couple has come back to bite him.

Lynn Wooley, 52, is claiming Dr. Ben Covington and his wife Lori are fighting him for custody of his two children after they looked after them while he was ill.

"It's miserable," Wooley said about life without his kids. "It just tears me apart."

Wooley, who's the single father of Ashealyn, 4, and Preston, 3, alleges the couple, who run a Christian ministry, befriended him and offered to help take care of his children while he was in poor health.

The father-of-two said the Covingtons seemed friendly and sincere at the time, and even pitched in with paying for his rent and diapers.  

"We'll take one of the children over the weekend and give you a little time if that's OK with you," Wooley quoted the couple following their initial 2015 meeting. "We want to help."

Last October, Wooley said he had undergone back surgery and left his kids with the couple during his period of recuperation.

However once Wooley asked for his children back, he claims his former friends served him with court papers for the primary parental rights of Ashealyn and Preston.

"I said, 'I can't believe it,'" Wooley shared. "These people have been my friends. I've never seen people do stuff like this and say they're your friends."

The couple claimed in the court documents that they they had actual care, control and possession of the children for six months, giving them a legal leg to stand on when positioning for custody.

"Our position is, it's pretty clear that there wasn't a relinquishment of parental rights by Mr. Wooley," Wooley's attorney Jim Ross said. "He didn't stop seeing the children. He didn't stop being the father. He accepted an offering hand from a couple who said, 'You're going through some hard times, let us help you out.'"

However, along with his health concerns, Wooley is also a former criminal who served 23 years in prison from a 1985 armed robbery, which led to the store clerk being shot.

"Lynn is not perfect," Ross said. "He has made his mistakes and he has owned them. But what he really is now is a loving, caring father, who's doing the absolute best he can to take care of his children."

But according to the couple, Wooley had asked them to be the primary caretakers of his children years ago and only are looking out for the best interests of Ashealyn and Preston.

"The Covingtons have always acted in the children's best interest and will continue to do so," a statement from the Covingtons' lawyer David Kulesz said. "The pleadings of this case and the reasons the children needed to be protected in the first place are matters of public record."

In a sworn affidavit, Lori, a retired nurse, said Wooley is an "unfit father with a criminal record, health and mobility issues, and erratic and belligerent behavior."

Until this custody dispute is settled, Wooley has given the Covingtons temporary custody in order to keep his visitation rights.

For the children's sake, we hope this case gets resolved as quickly as possible.

[H/T: NBC Forth Worth]

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com