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Ex-governor Palin's daughter fighting over custody of her son

Many in North Dakota have followed the saga of Bristol Palin, her pregnancy, and the birth of her son ever since she appeared at the Republican National Convention in 2008 with her baby's father, Levi Johnston. After her mother, Governor Palin, was nominated for Vice President, publicity followed Bristol Palin and her son Tripp, who is now four years old. The latest chapter involves a child custody battle between Bristol and the father of her son.

The father is requesting that he be awarded shared custody, while the mother does not think that is appropriate. She asserts that the 23-year-old father, formerly her high school sweetheart, has been irresponsible by falling $67,000 behind on his support obligations. She also claims that he is a neglectful father, failing to make regular visits to see his son. She states that Johnston has seemed to find plenty of money for his own traveling, hunting, and cars, even as his unpaid child support has continued to build up.

The mother also argues that the father is essentially voluntarily out of work and very deeply in debt. After his high profile engagement to Bristol Palin was broken off, he married someone else and now has a daughter with the new wife. In his defense, he did seem to at least be appalled when his young son used profanity on a television show.

Child custody cases involving celebrities may be more high profile, but they involve much the same issues as any child custody case. Determining what's in the best interests of the child and weighing the ability of a person to provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere are the top priorities.

NY Daily News, "Bristol Palin to judge: Don't give deadbeat dad Levi Johnston shared custody of our son Tripp" Nancy Dillon, Nov. 19, 2013

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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