Child custody disputes can be very complicated and long-lasting between two people who cannot see eye to eye. This seems to be the scenario that is unfolding in the media between Grammy Award-winning rapper Christopher Bridges, a.k.a. Ludacris, and the mother of baby Cai, Tamika Fuller. Each state uses the best interests of the child standard in determining custody issues, which usually involves a balancing of many factors. If you have any questions about child custody or are facing a custody battle, it is in you and your child’s best interests to consult with an experienced child custody attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your legal rights.
Ludacris’s Custody Battle
Ludacris and Ms. Fuller had a relationship in 2013, with the result that baby Cai was born in December 2013. The artist and the baby’s mom have been embroiled in a custody battle over the child since the beginning of 2014. The child lived with Ms. Fuller from birth, and a Georgia judge awarded the mother $7,000 a month in child support, down from the $15,000 she had originally requested. Subsequently, in February of 2014, Ludacris filed for full physical custody of baby Cai and asked the judge to award him child support. He argued he has been an active and capable father to his twelve-year-old daughter. Apparently, his reputation suffered as a result of his action, and he was labeled a “deadbeat dad.” Ms. Fuller had alleged that, as of January 8, 2014 when the baby was a month old, Ludacris had not even seen her, though he did file for paternity.
In the latest development, Ludacris made headlines over the holidays when he proposed to long-time girlfriend Eudoxie Agnan and married her on the same day. His sudden wedding nuptials has prompted a strong reaction from Ms. Fuller. She claims he married Eudoxie in order to gain the advantage over her in the custody battle. Legally, this might be a credible concern.
Best Interests of the Child
In Georgia, as in Florida, the best interests of the child standard requires a judge to balance numerous factors for and against the custody options. One of the factors in both states is the ability of each parent to provide a stable and loving home environment. Ms. Fuller has accused Ludacris of marrying Eudoxie in order to show a judge that he has a more stable home than Ms. Fuller, who is a single mother. Ms. Fuller has also averred that his end game is to avoid the payment of the $7,000 a month child support that the Georgia court awarded her earlier in 2014. The warring factions have a court date scheduled for this month.
A court will not allow a single factor to determine the outcome of a child custody case. In the State of Florida, the state legislature established Fla. Stat. § 61.13 which outlines twenty factors that the judge must consider. If this case were to be decided in Florida, the fact that the child has been with Ms. Fuller since birth is one factor that probably would be weighed in her favor, in the absence of any incriminating evidence against her capabilities as a mother. Until all the paperwork is in, of course, it is impossible to know for sure what the outcome will be.
Most parents desire a close relationship with their children, and the custodial right is a primary parental privilege and responsibility. While not all custody battles become so embroiled in controversy as this one, it is nevertheless very important to have a capable legal advisor at your side. The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. serves clients in the South Florida counties of Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Martin, Broward, Hendry, and Miami-Dade. Call us at (561) 429-3924 for a consultation.