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Court documents shed light on RFK Jr.'s divorce

Massachusetts residents surely have seen the coverage of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s recent family struggles, which culminated in the tragic death of his estranged wife Mary Kennedy last month. Robert Kennedy had filed for divorce from Mary about two years ago, but the case had not concluded when she passed away. The couple had four children together in addition to Robert's two children from a previous marriage.

New documents from their divorce and separation recently came to light, including a request for a court order prohibiting Mary from engaging in certain behaviors against Robert and the Kennedy children. This list included physical attacks, theft, stalking and speaking of the couple's marriage to their children.

Robert had also petitioned the court to order that Mary agree to a child custody arrangement "for the sake of my children and for my own safety and sanity." According to Robert, he first considered divorce after learning that Mary had been acting abusively towards his children from his previous marriage and had stolen items from his daughter and stashed them in a drawer.

Divorce is never easy and the facts contained in the released documents show that this situation was made more difficult by Mary Kennedy's struggles with mental illness. As tragic as it can be to watch a loved one suffer under the heavy burden of a disorder, at times it can be best to create child custody agreements and protective orders that, for the mutual benefit of all, seek to separate elements of a once united family.

Source: Huffington Post, "RFK Jr. Accuses Mary Kennedy of Being Abusive to Children from Earlier Marriage, Court Papers Say," June 10, 2012.

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