How do custody swaps get so contentious?

For the second time in less than 12 months a custody swap has ended with violence outside of a big chain outlet store, and I’m wondering what generally happens at these swaps and how they get so contentious.

From today’s AJC story: “Suwannee Police responded to a call around 4 p.m. Sunday about an argument between a man and woman in a Walmart parking lot. When police arrived on the scene they found the man and woman had been stabbed, apparently as a result of an argument, Cpt. Cass Mooney, a Suwanee police spokesman, told the AJC.”

“Two children were at the scene of a knife attack in Suwanee that left their mother dead, and their father awaiting charges.”

“The couple has been identified as Shelley Dyan Dunn, 27, of Buford and Phillip Chad Dunn, 28, of Lawrenceville.”

“ ‘The meeting was a custody exchange between the husband and wife,’ Mooney said. “At some point the husband pulled out a knife stabbing the wife and then himself.’ ”

Another custody swap ended in violence last April outside of a Target store but the husband wasn’t involved. Heather Strube, 25, had just picked up her 18-month-old son from her estranged husband, Steven Strube, outside of a Target store when she was shot by someone police say was wearing a wig and fake mustache. Police believe Strube’s mother-in-law Joanna Hayes was the one wearing the disguise.

From an October AJC story following the case: “Joanna Hayes has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to Roy Whitehead, Snellville police chief.  She is accused of shooting and killing her daughter-in-law, Heather Strube, on April 26  in the Scenic Highway store’s parking lot.”

“Steven Strube was ruled out as a suspect, police said in May, because he drove away before the shooting occurred. The child was not harmed.”

First of all, divorced couples please tell us why are all these custody swaps taking place outside of large chain stores? Why don’t they take place at the parent’s houses or friend’s houses?

Secondly, what in the heck happens during the swaps that violence breaks out in parking lots? What are you talking about that gets so heated? Is it big stuff about school or discipline or little nit-picky stuff about whether they ate well while at the other parent’s house?

Where do you meet to do your custody swaps? Where is a safer place to meet than outside large chain stores?  Should they be meeting inside police stations or police station parking lots? Is there a way to eliminate these types of situations?

Help us understand what generally happens at these types of custody swaps that can get so out of hand.

128 comments Add your comment

I am whatever you say I am

February 15th, 2010
11:18 am

My ex and I never married.
We have to meet at public locations because my ex and I do not get along.
I stopped having him come to me house because in the past he would go thru my things and get angry at me if I didn’t let him have something he found.
He would yell, cuss me out throw things, break things, etc…

Being in public if does anything crazy, I have witnesses.
I wish I didn’t have to deal with him

Jeff

February 15th, 2010
11:31 am

I have myself to blame for my situation because I chose to marry this person and have a child with her. When I acknowledge my role in my circumstances, it makes it easier to move on to resolving the issue.

I made a bad choice and I have to live with the consequences. That’s the way it works. And I’m better off for being able to see it in that context. I am a much happier person.

Photius

February 15th, 2010
11:32 am

Question: Let’s say it is entirely the man’s fault – the guy is nuts. Ponder this: why do women allow these men into their loins and reproduce not one rug rat, but a second and even a third! There is a sizeable percentage of women who are attracted to loser boys; you all have friends who get hooked up with these freaks of a man – they think they can fix him or help him, etc. They keep reproducing generation after generation of idiots who are never going to amount to anything and only cause harm and destruction on others within society – especially their own children. Continued allowing of idiots to reproduce, both men and women, only causes more harm in the world for all. Sterilize the man and woman (so she won’t make the mistake of reproducing with Loser #2 or #3)and medicate the man so he is a peaceful zombie, working, contributing to society.

Dar

February 15th, 2010
11:37 am

Ditto, Jeff. If more people could compartmentalize and deal with things maturely the world would be a better place. I think the problem here is with the individuals and not the system. The system may not be perfect, but many people seem to be able to deal with the inequities (perceived or real) without losing it and killing someone.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
11:47 am

I can rattle off quite a few cases as above, where the roles are reversed. A larger percentage of unstable mothers kill the children, along with the estranged spouse. Does this warrant immediate action against estranged mothers as a whole? Of course not. So why is it necessary to categorise all men as potential abusers and all fathers as deadbeats or violent in our judicial systems?

Too often, as with the case of child abuse, the signs are there but no one has the interest or fortitude to intervene until it is too late. Then we have the resulting overcompensation, which punishes the innocent as well.

Becky

February 15th, 2010
11:54 am

@Jeff..I hate that you are having to go thru this, it sounds like you are a really nice guy..My ex never got visitation with his daughter and he paid child support like clockwork..A former coworker of the childs mother came to work at my office once and when she found out who I was, boy did I learn a lot about the mother..Needless to say, many years of the mother filling the childs mind with so many negatives about the Dad backfired on her..I hope that you and your daughter can make it past this and have a great relationship..Oh, also, were you able to take her to the dance that you wanted to?

the truth

February 15th, 2010
11:59 am

So, Zachsmom, you neve saw any of these traits in your ex husband before you got married. Usually a leopard does not change his strips. Sorry you have gone thru this. It is losers like your ex that cause the good guys to pay the price.
I am amazed at what good girls settle for in a spouse. I guess there is truth that they want the bad boy. Well you get him and you live with the consequences.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
12:02 pm

Jeff, Dar, not everyone in society is as well adjusted and balanced as you appear. Is it fair to just throw the others in the bin with the rest of the rubbish or offer some form of guidance and/or support?

Bottom line, all these cases involve an enabler and an aggressor. Too often, we focus on the aggressor and ignore the enabler, who continues to seek out aggressive personalities. How does one break the cycle? How do we as a society encourage disruption of the cycle? By alienation or intervention? Currently, we encourage alienation. Thus, we should not be surprised as to what is happening here.

Single Dad

February 15th, 2010
12:02 pm

I am a single father who has sole custody of my child. My child’s mother has addiction and personality disorders. She came close to killing me and my child.
My child has supervised visitation with it’s mother based on my interpretation of her condition at the time and her parent’s ability to supervise. We exchange at a public location with a member of both families present. If there are any “warning signs” prior to visitation, there is no visit. All of this is based on what is best and safe for my child. I am trying to treat my child’s mother with respect and empathy because my child should have an opportunity to bond with it’s mother as long and she is well and healthy and sober. At ALL times the decisions are made based on what is best for the child, not the parent.

I agree with one of the Jeff’s that when you come to terms with your own choices in getting to where you are in a situation like this, then it is much easier to handle the other person’s contributions.

Claudine Dombrowski needs to get her head out of her —……………

just me

February 15th, 2010
12:14 pm

i personally know Chad and Shelley. i grew up with him and i know how he is. its better to do it in public because he is a very violent person and has always been, when i was younger i saw things i shouldnt have. he should recieve death!!!!

just me

February 15th, 2010
12:22 pm

Bob Dole….ur quite wrong. Chad is the crazy one. men who have a past of abuse on a woman are clearly the one with a problem. i grew up with him, knew his father, heard him telin my father how he would abuse Shelly and they would lacug about it. get a life and realize all women arent crazy… she was a good mother

Dar

February 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

WERA74 – Hard to give general advice, but I think requiring some sort of pre and post-divorce therapy for people would be a start. I was in therapy almost immediately after my X dropped the bomb and as soon as it became reality and he moved out I got our child into counseling as well. I begged my X pre and post to get help — he is a “tough guy” and refuses. I know it would help him deal with his issues. Therapy helped (and continues to help) me focus on the important things in life (my child, my self-esteem, etc) and not dwell on the negatives. With counseling, I have been able to choose to learn from my divorce and try to be a better person for everyone. It is hard when I have an X who continues to behave in a very selfish and self-destructive manner…a trait that either I did not see when we got together or that was there but didn’t really come out until the end…because it takes a lot of energy to fight the negative impact it has on me and my child. So my advice is counseling — for all involved.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
12:30 pm

Just Me, you take the time and opportunity to speak of his violence after the fact? Where were you before? Minding your own business because you were not in it; it was not happening to you? People as yourself never cease to amaze me!

just me

February 15th, 2010
12:36 pm

at the time i was a minor, im only 19 at the moment. i had abusive father and when i told my parents they didnt listen,. i was 13 the last time i saw them and was taken into defacs shortly thereafter. so your generalizations of “people as yourself” should be directed to you.

Jeff in Roswell

February 15th, 2010
12:39 pm

@WERA74 We don’t know Just Me’s role and if they would or could have had any effect on what happened. It’s pure speculation on your part.

Dar

February 15th, 2010
12:40 pm

I am gonna guess that Chad’s violence was no secret — to his family or the justice system. Reality in this world is that if someone is intent upon killing you they will do so unless (a) you cannot be located or (b) they are locked up. Restraining orders are pieces of paper that do not work like bullet proof vests and will not stop a knife blade. Reality in this world is that we do not have enough police officers to keep an eye on ever contentious custody exchange. Sometimes people snap. Most times it is followed by “I knew he/she was gonna do that someday”, but the reality is that there is not much that the law can do to stop it before it does.

just me

February 15th, 2010
12:42 pm

thank you @Jeff in Roswell, as i have stated i was 13 the last time i saw Chad and Shelley. i have still not had communication with many people from my past and at 13 you really are not listened to.

just me

February 15th, 2010
12:47 pm

dar you are so rite. as a child and to this day my father who knows Chad wery well still has a protective order aginst my younger sister, my mother and myself. they are nothing to men like him. im greatful that my mother was able to escape my father before something like this happned. from what i remember (i blocked most of my younger years out) Chad was always drunk or doin drugs and Shelley was takin care if the girls. She was to me a great woman. we dont choose who we love and sometimes we know its bad for us but we have no idea that it will really happen to us as women.

Denise

February 15th, 2010
12:49 pm

When my parents were divorced the first time, my mother was concerned that my father would try to take us. I’m not sure why but she was. Anyway, because she never kept us from our father (NEVER) she would meet him at a gas station off of some exit for the pick up and drop off. They never had any issue. They didn’t even talk. My brother and I just got out of one car and into the other car. Daddy didn’t pick us up or drop us off late. Daddy just didn’t know where we lived. This was the 80s so no Google, reverse look-up, etc. :-) I say all this to say sometimes it is necessary to do the public place meetings even when violence is not the issue. Sometimes there is something else…even if it is just paranoia. :-)

Rebecca

February 15th, 2010
1:15 pm

@ just me – please stop, you really don’t sound credible. Even if your version of the story is true, this is not the place.

As a start, No Fault divorce needs to go away.

Dar

February 15th, 2010
1:27 pm

There are no no-fault divorces….just people who don’t want to go to court and discuss the infidelity of one or both of the parties.

just me

February 15th, 2010
1:33 pm

rebecca this is the place since years ago no one would listen to me. Shelley was a good preson from what i remember. Chad was not a good memory for me. i have my own opinion and i have the right to post as do you.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
1:35 pm

Wow, Justme, that was the same excuse I heard from teachers and students alike when I went to my 20th HS Reunion. Like most of us, they saw the bruises and cuts all over me, not to mention the apparent malnourishment. Here it is 30+years later and we are engaging in the same denial of responsibility yet we are calling for this man’s head on a plate, figuratively speaking.

Face it, when something could have been done, it wasn’t. Now we have a mother who is dead, a father who is in jail, traumatised children who are now without their parents and a skewed sense of identity, and all we can do now is use the same old lame ass excuses we have been using since who knows when.

…and the beat goes on…

just me

February 15th, 2010
1:40 pm

WERA74
u dont know the way i was raised, u know nothing about me. i am not to blame. what about the adults that have been around????? as a child who was raised to abuse women i saw no wrong to me not tellin anyone besides my parents. this is bout justice for Shelleys family and not about pointing fingers at people who were too young to be heard.

Becky

February 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

@WERA74..Why pick on justme, because you stayed in an abusive relationship? If you went to your 20 year reunion like this, you were old enough to get out of it..I’m sorry that you were in this type of relationship but don’t point fingers at others and blame them..

I have one ex and a husband now..From the get go, they both knew that I would never tolorate being hit on..My ex and his ex before me, fought all of the time..Her to fight, him to protect his self..He threatened (sp) once to hit me and 2 months later, we were divorced..That was 16 yrs. ago and I’ve never looked back..

Kathy

February 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

@just me…..I don’t believe you either. You say that you are 19 now and have not seen Chad and Shelly since you were 13? I don’t think you can say that you know them “personally” if you have not seen them in 6 years.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
1:53 pm

Justme, I came from a very abusive background. Unlike a lot of others, I refuse to keep my mouth shut about such things. You stated earlier that you were only 13 at the time and you had an abusive father. with your own experience, it would seem that you could empathise with Shelly as far as abuse is concerned. BTW, while no one could help me with my situation, at 13 years of age (3′9″, 45lbs. and covered in bruises yet no one noticed!), I helped myself. I got in touch with the authorities and I facilitated getting myself out of that situation, when no adult or anyone else could or was willing to intervene. You did have a voice at 13. For whatever reason, you did not use it in this case.

Was it not you that said, “…he (Chad) should receive death.” Not singling you out per se, just illustrating a point.

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
2:03 pm

Becky, I am not singling out Justme because I was in an abusive situation. Rather, I am illustrating a point. It would seem that we don’t want to do anything about any kind of abuse until something catastrophic comes of it. To come on this forum demanding justice when there could have been intervention earlier to avert a tragedy such as this one further illustrates where our priorities lay collectively.

The responsibility does not lie at the feet of “Justme”. The blood is on all of our hands.

Lawrencevillemom

February 15th, 2010
3:25 pm

While I’ve not had to deal with this situation (Thank God) I have had many friends who have divorced and had custody issues. The situations vary from the typical “Dad ran away with his younger secretary” to the “Air Force dad who came home to find his four kids (including a newborn less that a month old) with a babysitter and a note on the table saying she just didn’t want to be married and a mom any more”. The neutral drop point seems to work well for many – it removes the stress of the non-custodial parent seeing the old home where they no longer live.

Many times domestic violence (regardless of who is the aggressor) is well hidden. Too often it is the kids who suffer from the divorce and the animosity that follows – they should be left to their innocence and allowed to grow and form their own opinions of their parents as people.

Becky

February 15th, 2010
3:33 pm

@WERA74..Ok, I guess I read something in your post that wasn’t there..Again, I’m sorry.. I grew up watching my dad get drunk and want to hit on my Mother..He did hit her afew times, but once I was about 7-8, he never hit her again..I’m not saying that I was that much of a fighter, he just knew that I meant business when I told him that I would call the police..

I just don’t think that anyone should have to live like that and I never will..I am very lucky in that I have a large family and I would always have a place to go to..Not to mention that I have brothers and nephews that have been in jail and they aren’t afraid to go back..

Is this real?

February 15th, 2010
3:34 pm

“How do custody swaps get so contentious?”

Because rednecks are really stupid people.

Jeff in Roswell

February 15th, 2010
4:01 pm

Jeff in Roswell

February 15th, 2010
4:07 pm

@WERA74 While I commend you for being aware and getting help at a young age, not everyone, can do this. I too, was a victim of abuse as was my mother and two sisters. We grew up with it from infancy. We thought this kind of thing just went on in families. I wish every day that someone would have set us straight long before we had to endure it for years. No one really knows for sure if Just Me is credible, but his/her story is absolutely possible.

deidre_NC

February 15th, 2010
4:07 pm

i am in complete agreement with JJ…my first divorce was ok after a little time had passed…we are now great friends and alwys tried to make it ok for the kids…it did take a little time for the bitterness to abate…my 2nd divorce was from an abusive husband who i never would have left if i wasnt in fear of my life and my kids lives…he pretty much disapeared-would appear off and on and scare the crap out of us-then he was killed in a violent fight…my 3rd one never had anything to do with his child (my youngest) as far as visitation or child support went and that was fine..even tho i could have used to money..it was lots easier for him to just be gone…he has recently been calling my daughter (you may remember she is now in college) and he has actually started sending her money…yes i could have used to money in her growing up years, but him sending her money now is great for her…

i agree that women usually get out better in divorce-but yall have to remember that lots of women have dead beat exes and im sure that causes a lot of problems and fights…just as many as the man getting mad at paying child support to a woman who is able to make a life..he isnt because he hsa to spend so much money on child support…dead beat dads make a womans life hard and miserable too…it works both ways

Jeff in Roswell

February 15th, 2010
4:15 pm

You would have never known that we suffered abuse. Dad was a well liked, upstanding citizen in the community and our bruises were never shown. No one knew what went on in our home. The grandparents may have had an idea, but the maternal side were abusers as well and the paternal side let it go because they didn’t want to get involved. When you are brought up as a child in that atmosphere and no one ever tells you that abuse is wrong…

ZachsMom

February 15th, 2010
4:15 pm

to @ the truth….Did I see those traits in my ex-husband when we got married? NO…but I was young when we got married and at the time he seemed like a normal person. He had never been around children and Zachary cramped his style. He decided that it was more fun to be an overaged teenager than a responsible parent. I didn’t even ask for him to be a good husband…..just a good dad.

I know that I have done the best that I can do and one day, I hope that Zachary will see that.

DB

February 15th, 2010
4:20 pm

@WERA74: For every one like you, who were able to break out of an abusive situation, there are dozens and dozens who can’t, because they have been beaten down so much that actually forget that they DO have control over their lives. It takes courage and an ability to imagine a different, better life to be able to make that first step towards breaking free. I understand your anger — but the reality is that, at 13, Justme probably would probably not have been heard without help. Hell, she couldn’t even manage her own abuse — how is she supposed to go around rescuing adults who presumably know better?

I want to put in a quick plug for one of my Girl Scouts, an amazing 18 year old who was recently named one of the National Top 10 Women of Distinction by Girl Scouts USA — the first from Atlanta — on the strength of her Gold Award project here in Atlanta working with domestic violence and abuse victims. She formed a non-profit group, Stronghold Atlanta, to help victims of domestic abuse. The group is hosting a benefit concert Friday night at 24K in Norcross, and I know they’d appreciate the support. http://www.strongholdatlanta.org

deidre_NC

February 15th, 2010
4:21 pm

jeff it sounds like you lived my life…my grandparents did nothing to stop it because back in the day all those things were not talked about…and no one wanted the stigma…sad but true…when i had kids i wanted to be the very opposite of my parents..and i have been prettymuch..maybe i have been a little more lenient..who knows..you learn how to parent or not parent from your own parents…at least my kids..no matter what…always know i love them…i didnt know that…and a lot of kids dont today…that is sad

WERA74

February 15th, 2010
6:07 pm

I wrote and published a book about my experiences. Unlike other autobiograpies, I also go through the process of unlearning learned behaviour patterns, point out the inadequacies of the system and offer remedies. What happened here should not have happened. Here is the link to my video on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDZkURFTYyQ

Wounded Warrior

February 15th, 2010
7:00 pm

My ex flew down here to GA when I was big prego with baby #2 and wanted to meet me to take my infant back to NY. I had moved and didn’t tell him. If he had taken my oldest daughter, I would have never seen her again. He was very violent person. He didn’t find me and flew back to NY empty handed. I didn’t want my baby to become an orphan.

td

February 15th, 2010
9:07 pm

RobbieC, I agree with most of your points. We were real close two years ago of getting true shared custody in this state. We wanted shared custody as the standard, unless their was proven DV or the parents agreed to a different arrangement. There was a commission and they had a good bill until the bar association re wrote it. The problem is divorce is a billion dollar a year industry and the more people fight the richer the lawyers become.

Magenta

February 16th, 2010
9:54 am

I’ve surprised numerous friends with children who have talked about splitting when I’ve advised them to do whatever they possibly can to stay together until the kids are grown or nearly so. If I’d had any inkling what single or remarried parenthood was like, I’d have doubled my efforts to save the marriage, despite a deep-seated dislike for the ex. He wasn’t abusive in any blatant way, he was just basically a jerk. But then again, so was I, and the reason was simple: We got married too young. True, only by going our separate ways could we learn new ways of doing things and finally grow, but the price was terribly steep for both of us, and so much more so for our child. He is now a young adult and doing reasonably well, but so much of his life has been shaded by the conflicts between his parents following the divorce, and difficulties with the steps. I feel that his childhood was hijacked. My parents had a contentious, alcohol-soaked marriage, but they stayed together for 48 years. I cannot objectively answer the question of whether it is better for parents to stay together for the sake of the kid or to split up, having seen the negative consequences of both options.

Emma1

February 16th, 2010
4:39 pm

@ Photius: I love you!

TJ

February 17th, 2010
8:59 am

I am a divorced mother of 2 kids and my ex-husband and I meet at a public place to exchange the kids. Speaking from experience, my ex-husband is not the greatest person, and I do feel uncomfortable meeting him ANYWHERE. Period. If my ex wanted to kill me, it really would not matter where we meet to do the exchange of the kids. Any meeting puts my life and my childrens lives in danger. What people don’t know is that Temporary Protective Orders further complicates things. Currently I have a stalking TPO out against my ex yet the law requires that I put my childrens safety and my safety at risk to exchange the children to go with him. Go figure. My ex has abused and threatened to harm my children, which I reported to DFACS, but unless you can prove what was said, and unless there are any “marks” left on the children, the courts will do nothing. To make matters worse, legally, I can do nothing to protect them from him if he ever decided to go through with those threats until it is too late. A big thank you to Gwinnett County for their non-support and their lack of concern for families in danger.

liz

February 17th, 2010
2:51 pm

There’s nothing here to wonder about. The indicator that custody is being changed over at a so-called “neutral” location is your evidence that a judge already has ordered timeshare for an abusive man who is too dangerous to pick up and drop off the children at the mother’s house.

What you should be wondering about is why there are custody exchanges at all under such circumstances.

silverside

February 17th, 2010
3:02 pm

This is the kind of public ignorance we have to deal with.

The reporter observes that in the Atlanta area, there have been two incidences of “custody swaps” that “ended in violence” and wonders why they “get so contentious.”

She gets completely sidetracked by the locations of these swaps (public chain store parking lots) and wonders if parking lots have something do with it. Huh?

You know that cliche, guns don’t kill people, people kill people?

Likewise, parking lots don’t kill people. People kill people. Get a clue. I suppose the hope is that a public place might make violent offenders less likely to act out, because they wouldn’t like witnesses. There’s no guarantee, though. So your suggestion that the exchanges take place at “parent’s houses or friend’s houses” is even worse. That would just embolden violent parents (mostly fathers) even more.

As for doing the exchange at the police station, please ask yourself the obvious question. If one person in this family is such a high risk for violent behavior, then why the hell do they have any visitation with the children at all?

The subject of these couples’ “conversations” is also completely irrelevant. Murders are not the results of disagreements over school discipline and the like. They are the result of a long pattern of domestic violence, usually perpetrated by the father, that have been allowed to fester and continue post-separation.

You want to know how to stop “custody swaps” from getting contentious? Stop “custody swaps” when there’s a violent parent! Give the non-violent protective parent sole custody and let the family heal.

c

February 17th, 2010
3:09 pm

I think people just have issues and they think violence can solve anything, I know several couples who are much happier divorced than they were when they were married. Also, the court systems sometimes tend to lean towards the parent that would be best for the child or children. However, anybody can be convincing in a courtroom if they want to be. I know that I get along better with my ex now than when we were married,we are more like friends now. We still go to see our children at special events together,even though we have both moved on. He likes my new husband and I like his new wife. Of course we had our problems in the beginning of the divorce, but truth be told, if we didn’t get divorced,one of us would probably have been seriously hurt. The children have adjusted great and it has been 3 years and no problems.

Divorced Guy

February 17th, 2010
5:28 pm

Sometimes you just cannot push a person because you have no idea what frame of mind the person is in; doesn’t matter if it’s the man or woman. I do not condone violence, but screwing with someone sets theoccasion for anything to happen.

td

February 17th, 2010
5:46 pm

If there is proven DV, from wither the man or the woman, then I would support sole custody. The problem is in the proof. When I was getting divorced my attorney told me that she had many clients that lost their children because a soon to be ex would let the ex pick up the children for parenting time. They would then intentionally pinch themselves, run them self into a wall or do something else and then call the police and claim the other parent did it when he came to pick up the children. These people lost everything (House, children,ect). She told me to have someone else go with me as a witness for all exchanges.

All this to point out that horrible things happen in divorce when you have a adversarial system where the winner takes all. Children should not be treated as a prize at the end of a fight.

The current standard for a judge in the deciding custody is “the best interest of the child”. How can a Judge decide after listening to a couple hours of testimony and not meeting, observing or speaking with the children what is in His/her/their best interest? Judges are put in a no win situation. How can anyone claim that (in non DV or substance abuse cases) the child is better off parented by one parent over the other? Do not both adults have invaluable knowledge and skills to pass on to the next generation? Are we not really depriving our children of a parent by our current system?

The standard for our children should be Joint physical, legal custody with shared decision making and 50/50 parenting time, unless the parents voluntarily agree to a different arrangement or there is a proof (clear and convincing evidence) of DV or substance or alcohol abuse. If DV is proven then the person committing the DV should loose all rights and should only hav supervised visitation.

jt

February 17th, 2010
6:13 pm

At the risk of being crude,

family law attorneys are bottom feeders.

Anyone else who makes their living off of parental-conflict are no better.

In Georgia, whichever party has the most money or better connections wins. Best interest of the children my arse.