Child Custody

refers to the legal right and responsibility to raise a minor child and to make decisions. The parent a child normally lives with, and the one who makes legal decisions concerning the child, is called the custodial parent, usually the mother. Though every state has laws which forbid discrimination based on gender, these are often ignored in the world of family courtrooms across America.

shared parentingBy Sarah J. Merry

Cordell & Cordell Divorce Lawyer

A quick search on Google shows that “shared parenting” is a hot button issue in many states across the nation.

Shared parenting refers to two parents who have divorced or separated, or who were never married, sharing residential custody of their child on an equal or near equal basis and being equally empowered to make decisions regarding their child.

Unfortunately, most reports on this subject reveal there is a great deal of opposition to the implementation of laws that either allow (yes, allow) a judge to consider shared parenting or that set forth a presumption that parents should share time with their kids.

While South Dakota just passed legislation which allows a judge to consider shared parenting during a custody hearing, and Arkansas passed a law in 2013 which states that joint custody is favored in an action for divorce, many states have opposed or failed to pass such laws.

Thursday, 06 March 2014 16:44

Equal Parenting Time Bill Unlikely To Pass

parenting time billBy Caroline Cordell

History repeats itself once again with proposed legislation in Nebraska to create the presumption of equal parenting time unlikely to pass in the Nebraska State Senate.

Last month, published an article chronicling the exciting and promising custody reform in Nebraska, in particular the LB 1000 bill. The situation seemed encouraging, with the Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts releasing a report supporting the core tenets of the proposed legislation: divorced fathers have limited visitation with their children.

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly to those familiar with the family law courts, fathers are at an inherent disadvantage in Nebraska courts.

social media divorceBy Sarah J. Merry

Cordell & Cordell Divorce Lawyer

It is no secret that texts, tweets, emails and Facebook posts have drastically changed the way the world communicates.

However, if you are anticipating a divorce or custody dispute in this text-happy world, it is important to slow down and remember that once you send that text you cannot get it back. Once you tweet or post your status, it can be seen by many people.

Social media most always makes an appearance in a divorce or custody case so be smart about what you put out there and keep a close eye on what others put out there.

joint custody statsBy Caroline Cordell

In Nebraska, a debate is raging on the merits of joint custody, also known as shared parenting.

As a result of the intense arguments brewing, the Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts released a shocking report on child custody orders in the state.

From 2002 to 2012:

  • 72 percent of the time mothers were awarded sole or primary custody
  • 13.8 percent of the time fathers were awarded sole or primary custody
  • 12.3 percent of the time equal parenting time was awarded
  • 72 percent of child custody cases result in dads only seeing their children 5.5 days a month.
Friday, 20 April 2012 18:13

Parental Kidnapping In America

parental kidnapping in americaAs a specialist in cross-border child custody disputes who has provided expert testimony on parental kidnapping for 15 years, Mauren Dabbagh is not only well-versed professionally, but she also has a personal connection to the issue.

Dabbagh’s daughter was abducted and taken to the Middle East by her ex-husband. She had no communication with her daughter for 17 years until they were reunited in 2010.

In her 15 years handling parental kidnapping cases both professionally and personally, Dabbagh said she has seen the country’s "antiquated" and "barbaric" laws demonize the male gender by reducing men to "sperm banks and child support checks."

That unfortunately popular and destructive mentality and the growing dynamic of "abusive apologetics" are featured in Dabbagh's book, "Parental Kidnapping in America: An Historical and Cultural Analysis."

fathers rightsFathers Rights To Visitation Question:

My ex-wife and I live on different coasts of the country. We are expected to split transportation costs when my children come live with me for several weeks a few times a year.

Obviously it is not cheap, and my ex-wife is refusing to make travel arrangements because she said she cannot afford the travel expenses. So I agreed to pay the full costs this one time, but now she is saying I cannot come to where she lives and take the children. I think she is hiding behind the transportation costs as a way to deny my visitation rights to see my children.

Can I bring the court order with me and show the law enforcement in her state that it is my right to have the children during my parenting time? Will one state's law enforcement abide by and support a court order entered in another state? How are fathers rights protected in these instances?

Monday, 12 March 2012 14:43

Grandparents Rights To Visitation

grandparents rightsIt's not uncommon for a grandparent's access to their grandchildren to be thwarted by divorce and even family disputes. The issue of grandparents' rights to visitation was recently heard by the Alabama Supreme Court in a case where the grandparents’ rights were declined even when the grandchild's parents were still married.

The married couple denied the grandparents' access to the child on account of a business dispute. The grandparents sued for regular access to the grandchildren and successfully won visitation rights.

paul toland Japan abductionJapan is called "a black hole" where once abducted children enter, they never return. No one knows this painful reality better than Paul Toland, a left-behind parent whose daughter, Erika, was abducted to Japan in 2003 and has been held there since.

Toland is a commander in the U.S. Navy, has testified before Congress (pictured) on this issue, and co-founded the organization Bring Abducted Children Home, which is dedicated to the immediate return of internationally abducted children who are being wrongfully detained in Japan.

He talked with editor Matt Allen about his organization, his thwarted attempts to see his daughter, and why the United States continues to tolerate this type of behavior from Japan.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012 16:57

Denying Fathers Rights To Visitation

advice on divorceFathers Rights Question:

My wife and I are currently separated, but the divorce has not been finalized, and she is denying my visitation rights to my children.

We have no child custody agreement and no child support agreement, however I have been paying her money for the past year. This past month I didn't have money to pay her so she has denied me from seeing my kids until I pay her.

Since there is no court order in place regarding child support or my visitation rights as a father, what are my options to see my children?

Friday, 17 February 2012 20:17

One Senator's Efforts For Shared Parenting

senator jim kastamaAll children need two parents in their lives even if their parents are divorced. This concept of the importance of shared parenting is not lost on Washington State Sen. Jim Kastama, who is known as the Washington Legislature’s leading advocate for shared parenting and recently announced he is running for Washington's Secretary of State.

He also was invited on stage at a Blue October concert in Seattle (watch the YouTube clip) drumming up support within the crowd to allow divorced dads more access to their children. You can learn more about Jim and his efforts for shared parenting by visiting the website

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