Here’s a hypothetical for Tennessee fathers who are facing the prospect of divorce. The parents of two small children get divorced after less than two years of marriage. It is not an amicable split. A child custody battle ensues. The father has a job that requires him to do a great deal of traveling; the mother does not. Which parent is most likely to win primary custody?
Most neutral observers and even many fathers’ rights advocates would give the edge to the mother in this case. This makes sense when you consider that family court judges are required to use a “best interests of the children” standard in making custody determinations and that a stable home life would usually be considered preferable to one in which the parent with primary custody has to travel extensively.
Fortunately, there are several factors judges consider when trying to determine what the best interests of the children are in child custody disputes.
For readers not familiar with the source of that hypothetical — the three-year child custody battle waged between the entertainer known as Usher and his ex-wife Tameka Foster — Usher was awarded primary custody of the ex-couple’s 3- and 4-year-old sons a few weeks ago, despite the demanding travel schedule that Foster argued would not allow him to take care of the two boys on a full-time basis.
Usher’s lawyers countered that argument by focusing on other “best interest” factors in this fathers’ rights case, citing Foster’s lack of “emotional stability (as demonstrated in her own testimony and by other evidence),” and her inability to bond with the boys as handicaps that left her “incapable of being a proper parent.”
Source: Huffington Post, “Usher, Tameka Foster Custody Battle: Usher Awarded Primary Custody Of Sons,” Aug. 24, 2012