In an ideal world, divorcing or separating parents would agree on everything regarding their child's future, from where the child will stay to the visitation schedule. However, in the real world, many parents have a difficult time dealing with child custody and support issues. It can feel impossible to compromise with their ex-spouses when it comes to their children. When allegations of abuse come into play, a parent can temporarily or permanently lose custody of a child.
Tyrese Gibson, the "Fast & Furious" actor and singer, recently regained custody over his 10-year-old daughter after a hard-fought battle with his ex-wife, Norma Mitchell. Mitchell filed a restraining order against Gibson in September, accusing him of being unstable, as well as emotionally and physically abusing his daughter. Gibson denied the claims, stating that he never abused his daughter. His lawyer commented that Gibson disciplined his daughter with a spanking, in accordance with the law, when she visited her father one summer.
A California judge dismissed the case on the grounds that the claims made against Gibson were "100 percent unsubstantiated." The judge also denied a stay away order to Mitchell, who claimed that Gibson acted violently toward her on multiple occasions from 2004 to 2011. The judge commented that these allegations were either unproven or "too remote in time." The judge also stated that while the ex-spouses were malicious toward each other, there was no pattern of abuse. The judge also addressed the videos Gibson posted on social media during the case, stating Gibson did not violate the restraining order, as he did not communicate with Mitchell through the videos.
When a couple is fighting over custody, things can get ugly fast, particularly if one or both parents are accused of abuse. Parents should remember to focus on the best interests of their children, and know that most children benefit from having both parents involved in their lives. Falsely accusing a parent of abuse hurts the child more than anyone else. However, if the abuse in fact did occur, it is a parent's job to make sure that the court is aware of this behavior, so that it can do whatever it takes to protect the child.
Source: New York Daily News, "Judge restores Tyrese Gibson's shared custody of daughter, denies ex-wife restraining order bid," Nancy Dillon, Nov. 17, 2017