Single father fights to win back custody of his kids from couple who helped take care of them
According to Lynn Wooley, the couple, Dr. Ben Covington and his wife Lori, agreed to help care for his children temporarily, but kept them instead.
The 54-year-old single father from Forth Worth, Texas, is fighting for the return of his two children, Preston, 3, and Ashealyn, 4, as reported by Nbcdfw.com.
Wooley claimed that while he was sick, Dr. Ben and Lori befriended him and offered to help take care of his children.
However, his faith in them has come back to bite him as the couple has since filed court papers requesting permanent custody of his children. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa.
"It's miserable. It just tears me apart.” .
Lynn Wooley, Nbcdfw.com, June 26, 2018
The father-of-two alleged that the Covingtons, who run a Christian ministry, seemed friendly and sincere when Wooley met them in 2015, and he willingly accepted their offer to help.
The couple started by paying towards rent and diapers and occasionally pitching in with childcare. In October 2017, Preston and Ashealyn began staying more often with the Covingtons when Wooley underwent back surgery.
Wooley reportedly asked for his children back after two months of recovery, but the couple instead served him with court papers demanding primary parental rights over his children.
"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."
Dr. Ben and Lori claimed in court papers that they had actual care, control, and possession of Preston and Ashealyn for six months. If proven correct, it would give them a legal leg to stand on when positioning for custody.
Wooley's attorney Jim Ross said: "Our position is, it's pretty clear that there wasn't a relinquishment of parental rights by Mr. Wooley."
"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.'"
But Wooley, along with his health concerns, is also a former criminal who served 23 years in prison from a 1985 armed robbery in which a store clerk was 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."
In a statement, the Covingtons' lawyer, David Kulesz, said: "The Covingtons have always acted in the children's best interest and will continue to do so."
"The pleadings of this case and the reasons the children needed to be protected in the first place are matters of public record."
In an affidavit, Lori said Wooley is an "unfit father with a criminal record, health and mobility issues, and erratic and belligerent behavior."
The couple claim Wooley asked them to be primary caretakers of his children years ago. Wooley denies that claim but has since agreed to give them temporary custody to keep his visitation rights.