The sister-in-law of controversial USpolitician Sarah Palin is to divorce her divorcing husband James after 12 years together. She is seeking sole custody of their daughter.
Wendy Palin filed divorce papers in Alaska over the summer. She cited an ‘incompatibility of temperament’ as the grounds for their legal separation and
filed for sole custody of their 10 year old daughter – the couple’s only child.
James Palin has filed a response demanding joint custody. Mrs Palin has primary custody until a hearing later this month, with Mr Palin enjoying visitation rights on the condition he abstains from alcohol for 24 hours before seeing his daughter.
James and Wendy Palin were married in 2000 and separated in July 2012.
This news follows the announcement of an earlier. Palin family divorce. Sarah Palin’s son Track announced he was divorcing his wife Britta in December.
The former high school sweethearts separated after 18 months of marriage. They have a 15 month old daughter Kyla and the pair have reportedly settled custody issues.
Here in England the problem would be widely different. Custody was abolished by the Children Act 1989 Before that the issue of custody was always a hot potato, with (usually) the father seeing the claim for custody in the divorce as the wife getting ownership of the children and he losing them.
Once the Children Act came into force in 1991 and neither party could claim “custody” any longer, the general situation did improve. Thereafter neither parent had any form of “ownership”. Instead the focus changed to that of the child. Henceforth the test became what was in the best interests of the child in terms of residence and contact.
Parties have often tried to alternate use of the term “residence” for custody but the terms are very different.
So if this Palin divorce was taking place in England, perhaps they would be fighting over how much contact there would be or with whom the children would live and for how long with each.
Perhaps, in common with the vast majority of couples in this country, they might not be fighting over their children at all, given that ownership or custody no longer exists and sharing the children’s time between parents is no longer such a hot potato.
Photo by Therealbs2002 via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence