Custody Information

Many parents are concerned for the well being and safety of their children. This is especially true when there are parenting concerns with your spouse.  Unfortunately, many parents are forced to make pivotal decisions within a custody dispute that do not reflect their true emotion.  Parents are forced into this situation because of legal barriers within every divorce or custody battle. Safety and the well-being of your children should be the paramount concerns for all parents.  Having an active role in your children’s lives and having daily contact should be your primary objective in litigation.

By far, the one of the largest mistakes made by parents in a custody dispute is taking on the challenge of forceing their wants over the Court's intent. Opposed to ensuring contact with their children within the environment of what the Court provides, parents generally refute the Court's intentions and seek out their own agenda as it relates to custody.  For example, many times, the Court's Guardian Ad Litem (or a Custody Evaluator) will recommend that one of the spouse's have "residency" of the children.  The other parent, generally insists that they have the children, because of a variety of reasons (and usually good reasons, at that).  However, many parents don't realize that the legal standard is that of a "child's best interest" and not a "parent's best interest."  This distinction shouldn't be ignored.


A recent hollywood divorce provides a stunning example of this odd custody dynamic that plagues divorces and creates needless costs in the process.  Kelly Rutherford (Gossip Girl actress) proclaimed that she can't understand why a New York Judge gave custody of their child to her now ex-husband, who lives in France.  Rutherford's problem is that she isn't looking at the case from a "child's best interest" perspective.  Given her ultra-flexible work schedule, Rutherford can easily travel to and from France, and essentially see her child several days of the week, every week.  In fact, she has a residence in France.  Had the Judge given her custody in New York, the father would essentially never see the child, with exceptions of holidays.  


The Court's decision in the Rutherford case, highlights that the Court's intent is to ensure that the child(ren) have continous contact with both parents, so that the mom and dad can have influence in raising their children.  Rutherford is unable to see past the concept of a "mom" not having physical possession of her child.  Likely swayed by the old belief system that a mom without her children must be unfit, Rutherford is attempting to buck the system.


Many parents, like Rutherford, have this tendency to look past (let's say ignore) what the Court is trying to accomplish.  This is a crucial mistake.  Parents should focus on the Court's intention and then litigate their case with well planned strategy.  Many good divorce lawyers, know exactly how they would have handled the Rutherford case, and likely pulled a custody win for their client.


There is no substitute for having a good well planned custody litigation strategy in your case.  Obtaining residency (physical possession) of your children is likely the most important aspect of your case.  It doesn't pay to simply go through the process without some sort of game-plan.


If you have any questions about this topic,
please call Paul D. Nordini at (480) 527-9000
or email him at: