Mattingly Regains Custody of Her Children

Mattingly Regains Custody of Her Children

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Sandra Yi ReportingHeidi Mattingly, one of John Daniel Kingston's polygamist wives, can take her children home. That decision has taken a year and a half and gone through three judges.

In the court room today, Heidi Mattingly remained calm, friends and family congratulated each other, and Heidi's mother burst into tears as the judge announced her ruling. That ruling is that it is safe for the kids to return home to their mother tonight.

This ruling effects her six children who were in state custody. She has three currently at home. The judge said that Mattingly has complied with court-ordered services and that she has an appropriate home for the children.

As part of the ruling, the state will monitor the family. Mattingly and her children will continue their therapy. The kids will also have to go to school. And a no-contact order between the family and John Daniel Kingston must be maintained.

Mattingly says she's obviously happy. She pointed out that today is her son's 13th birthday. So what is she most looking forward to?

Heidi Mattingly: "Getting a good night's sleep. I haven't had a good night's sleep in a year. So, I, that sounds strange, but I'm so looking forward to being able to go to sleep and know that they're in their beds and they're safe. And I think that I can handle it. I'm sure that I can handle it. Ask any mother with a large family if she'd rather just give up because she has too many, and she'll look at you like, 'I can handle it. Those are my kids and we were meant to be a family together.'"

Today's decision ends a long, drawn out, even controversial custody battle. It all started back in February last year. That's when the state stepped in when Kingston's two teenage daughters ran away and alleged abuse.

The first judge on the case ruled that Kingston abused his kids and that Mattingly failed to protect them. In April she was given a second chance to get her kids back.

The guardian ad-litem, which represents the children, announced its plans to appeal the judge's ruling. The state, however, said it will not appeal. In fact, the state even amended its petition to terminate parental rights so that it only applies to the two oldest daughters in this case.

Mattingly was reunited with her children tonight.

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