Famous R & B artist Usher is currently litigating a hotly contested custody case with his former wife Tameka. Tameka and Usher were married for two short years before Usher filed for divorce in 2009. Currently the couple shares joint custody of their two young sons. On Tuesday May 1, the pair attended a court hearing in Georgia where the judge ordered them to work out some type of agreement “or else.” The judge instructed them to attempt to reach a temporary child custody and visitation arrangement in a private mediation setting. If they were unable to reach an agreement, the judge would impose a temporary order upon Usher and Tameka. In this case, the two would have no control over the outcome.
It is common in the San Diego family court system for a judge to order parties to attempt reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Negotiating and mediating disputes, especially those regarding child custody, result in less turmoil in an already hostile situation. This approach tends to promote cooperation and a healthy co-parenting relationship between the parties that is in the best interest of the child. However, when domestic violence is involved in a case, party negotiations will be ineffective and unsuccessful.
Harsh mudslinging has been a common tactic throughout the Raymond custody dispute. Tameka has accused Usher of being behind in child support payments in the amount of at least $34,000. Tameka has also alleged that Usher is an unfit father because he has a habit of doing drugs, specifically prescription pills, in front of their children. As a result of this allegation, she has requested Usher be ordered to undergo drug testing. Usher has denied any drug use and in addition is requesting more time with his children. We have recently blogged about the divorce and the effects on children. In order to promote stability in the children’s lives, many resources are available to divorcing couples or adverse parties in custody disputes.
Last year, Tameka requested that the court reduce Usher’s custody and visitation rights to their two sons. The children are still very young, the oldest, Usher V is four years old and the youngest, Naviyd, is just three years old. In order to be successful in a child custody and visitation modification motion, the requesting party must show the court that a significant change of circumstance has occurred since the previous court order. One popular ground for this request is that the other parent has become unfit in such a way as to render him or her an ineffective or inappropriate parent. As Tameka has alleged here, drug abuse is a common allegation that, if proved, may result in a change of custody.
Tameka is now requesting a modification in the current child support order. She alleges a “substantial change” in Usher’s income since their divorce proceeding. First, in order to collect the unpaid child support, Tameka must be able to prove that Usher in fact had an obligation to pay that support and did not pay it. In San Diego, the Department of Child Support Services is an excellent resource for parents who wish to enforce a current order to collect unpaid support. However, custody and visitation are completely separate from child support orders. If Usher in fact is behind on support, Tameka must still allow him his court-ordered time with the children.
Please contact us if you have questions regarding custody and visitation and/or divorce. Nancy J. Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego County representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.