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Mom drops long fight over custody of son

Published Oct. 13, 2005

A woman has dropped a custody fight over her teen-age son, who chose to live in a psychiatric hospital for four months rather than stay with her. "I'm ecstatic," John Colvin said Friday after the agreement allowed his son, Joshua, to live with him in Boca Raton. "It's been a long battle."

The 15-year-old boy's mother, Christine Gomula, admitted Joshua to Fair Oaks Hospital in Delray Beach twice during the three-year custody battle.

After the second admission in August 1989, Joshua decided he would rather live there than return to his mother and remained for four months. He consistently has said he wanted to live with his father.

Ms. Gomula retains custody of the couple's other children, Jessica, 16, and Kalissa, 9.

But Colvin, who was denied custody of his son because of "profound psychological problems," said he plans to continue fighting for custody of the girls.

In a recent letter to Circuit Judge Virginia Gay Broome, Ms. Gomula of Boynton Beach said her decision to allow Joshua, who reportedly tests as a genius on IQ tests, to live with his father was a difficult one.

"I know that Joshua, being with his father, will internalize his father's feelings about me, and once again he will alienate himself from me in order not to lose his father's love," she wrote. She said she struggled to win Joshua's affection but acknowledged he consistently rebuffed her.

In agreeing to let Joshua live with his father, Ms. Gomula promised not to block Colvin's plans to sue Fair Oaks. He contends the hospital had no medical justification to accept his son as a patient. He was discharged just before a court hearing on the issue.

The court record of the couple's custody battle is 14 volumes thick. In November, Ms. Gomula lost her job with IBM and was representing herself in the case, writing her legal documents in longhand.