The parties married in 2007 and have two minor children. There were numerous confrontations when defendant would allegedly become physical and violent. There was also an argument between the parties in August 2020, at which time defendant cut his hand on a glass candle he broke. In September 2020, plaintiff discovered a second affair between defendant and a woman he is now dating.
In early October 2020, defendant left the marital home. At the time, the parties agreed that defendant would still get the children for three afternoons per week and every other weekend. Though defendant provided substantial assistance in caring for the children during the parties’ marriage, this changed once he left the marital home. Plaintiff solely handled the children’s morning and evening routines, took them to all doctor’s visits, and attended school conferences, though defendant still attended the children’s dentist appointments and select after-school activities, and regularly spoke with them over the phone.
Ex Parte Motion
Plaintiff filed for divorce on October 15, 2020. With respect to custody of the children, plaintiff alleged that it was in the children’s best interests for the trial court to grant her physical custody and grant joint legal custody with defendant. Defendant filed an answer, countering that it was in the children’s best interests for the parties to share joint legal and joint physical custody. During the divorce proceedings, plaintiff filed an ex parte motion for temporary custody of the marital home and children, which the trial court granted.
A hearing before a referee was conducted, after which the referee entered a report and recommendation concluding that clear and convincing evidence supported plaintiff having primary physical custody of the children. Following the de novo hearing before the trial court, the trial court rendered an opinion regarding its judgment of divorce.
The trial court determined that the children had an established custodial relationship with plaintiff. And after evaluating each best interest factor, the trial court concluded that defendant failed to demonstrate that modification of the ex parte order to equal physical custodial time was warranted. Therefore, the trial court awarded the parties joint legal custody, with plaintiff having primary physical custody and defendant having parenting time per the order.
Assistance With Custody
If you are going through a divorce or are separating from the mother or father of your children, it is important to protect your custodial rights. If the divorce or separation process does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the custody you deserve.