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A hoopster's custody battle

In Minnesota and other states, courts will decide both legal and physical custody of a minor. Legal custody means making important decisions about education, health care, and other issues; physical custody means deciding where the child will live and establishing a daily routine. Parents can have sole or joint custody, depending on the circumstances. If the parents agree on all custody issues, they may file a stipulation with the court on the child's living arrangements.

In a recent high-profile custody case, a basketball star and a woman both sought custody of an infant. Claiming that the mother was incapable of caring for the child due to her unemployment, the athlete petitioned for custody if a paternity test determined he was the biological father. The mother countered with a claim that his busy playing schedule would prevent the putative father from adequately caring for the child.

In some divorce cases, custody disputes hinge on a paternity test. Although a test administered before baby was born established his paternity with a 99.9 percent assurance, the athlete insisted on another one. Their lawyers spoke to the press; while the mother's lawyer called the athlete's petition for custody "insulting," the basketball player's lawyer praised his client's willingness to take on the responsibility of a parent.

The player also filed petitions with the court asking for a change of venue to the state of Florida, limited visitation time for the mother and for a child support order awarding less than the guideline amount if the court awarded custody to the mother. This legal maneuvering likely a way to stake out positions in the negotiations to come.

Source: INDY Star, "Pacers' Paul George seeks sole custody of child", June 30, 2014

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