IIn May, we tried a contested custody case involving a mother who had committed a minor battery and was charged with assault fourth degree. A protection order was entered at the outset of the case that prohibited her from having contact with her child except for supervised visits. The mother alleged that the father set her up to gain control of the child and to avoid having to pay her child support. There were many complicating factors during the temporary orders period including hand print bruises appearing on both of the child’s arms during a visit with the mother resulting in accusations of child abuse against the mother. The mother was having professionally supervised visits with the child when the trial began.
The court found that the mother had been the child’s primary parent and did not accept the father’s proposed parenting plan. The court instead entered a temporary parenting plan that will allow the mother the opportunity to be the child’s primary parent when the matter is reviewed in nine months. The GAL was recommending the entry of a temporary parenting plan at trial. The court awarded the mother 60% of the parties’ financial assets - after a seven year marriage - and $40,000 in attorney’s fees. The father had “given away” $50,000 in community property funds during the marriage. The court counted those funds against the father’s share of the community property he was awarded.