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Putting the kids in the middle

Texas courts often grant joint conservatorship - usually referred to as "custody" - of children in divorce cases. Often, one parent has sole managing conservatorship and the other has visitation rights. The parent with visitation pays child support to the parent with primary custody.

In a case that recently hit the news, R&B singer Usher and his ex, Tameka Raymond, have been involved in a bitter fight over child custody. The couple currently shares custody, but neither is satisfied with the situation. She claims that he is taking the children out of state without her permission and that he has jeopardized her financial well-being. He has disputed these claims.

The couple married in 2007 and filed for divorce in June 2009. They have two children, aged 3 and 2. Tameka has allegedly requested legal full custody, stating that Usher is a bad father because he allegedly does drugs around the children and took the children out of state without her permission.

The claims have no merit, according to the singer. He has filed his own response to the judge. A court hearing is scheduled for February 2012.

Among allegations of non-payment of child support, Tameka also alleges that Usher closed her Saks 5th Avenue credit card, which also cancels unspecified benefits that come with it. Court documents allege that Usher also owes her $34,000 in nanny fees, which is part of the child support money.

At the heart of this issue are the two children caught in the middle of the feuding parents. If, in fact, Usher is putting them in dangerous situations, the children need to be removed to protect them and keep them safe. However, if the allegations of his bad behavior are false, the children could lose out on the opportunity to have a positive relationship with their father.

Whatever the courts decide, it is important to remember that any case involving child custody needs to focus on what is in the best interest for a child.

Source: Daily News, "Usher slams ex Tameka Raymond's claims that he's a bad dad," Joyce Chen, Jan. 2, 2012

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