Court awards Usher primary custody of his two sons

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, September 5, 2012.

The legal fight between Usher and his ex-wife ended this month when a court decided to award primary physical custody of the couple's two sons to Usher. The case reveals the many intricacies Virginians may encounter during a child custody battle.

Prior to the court's ruling, the child custody dispute had lingered for years. Usher and his ex-wife married in 2007. Two years later, the couple separated and divorced. Since then, the couple has fought over the custody of their two sons.

Unfortunately, the couple only recently reached a custody agreement after a court order in the wake of a traffic boating accident, which resulted in the death of Usher's ex-wife's 11-year-old son. After allegations of physical abuse by the ex-wife, the court ultimately decided to award Usher primary physical custody of the couple's two sons. Usher and his ex-wife both have legal custody of the boys, however. The court has not yet determined Usher's ex-wife's visitation rights.

Although Virginians typically use the word "custody" to refer to the entire process by which a parent's rights to his or her child are determined, there are actually several forms of custody spelled out in the law. The different forms of custody include but are not limited to the following: physical custody, legal custody, sole custody and joint custody.

In Usher's case, two major forms of custody were involved -- physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the parent who has the rights to provide day-to-day care to his or her child. A child typically lives with the parent who has physical custody. A court will usually grant visitation rights to the other parent.

In contrast, legal custody refers to the parent who makes long-term decisions for his or her child. A court will often try to award both parents legal custody where it is in the best interests of the child.

Usher's custody battle with his ex-wife reminds Virginia residents of the many considerations in a child custody dispute. There are many issues that must be resolved to ultimately create the best situation in which the parents and child can flourish and grow.

Source: Washington Post, "R&B singer Usher wins primary physical custody of 2 sons, ending legal fight with ex-wife," Aug. 24, 2012

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