A celebrity child custody and visitation case suddenly got a lot nastier last week when mixed martial arts star Chuck Liddell was publicly accused by his ex-wife of kidnapping the couple’s son and taking him to California, according to the celebrity-tracking website TMZ. Liddell, in turn, appeared before a California family law court to accuse his ex of neglecting the child.
The case seems to have begun in late March when Liddell traveled to Colorado, where his ex-wife Lori Geyer lives with her current husband, for a visit with the couple’s 12-year-old son. Four days later, TMZ reports, Geyer received a call from Liddell’s attorney informing her that the boy was in California and would remain there until a custody hearing could take place.
A week later Liddell was in a California court seeking full custody of the boy, claiming his mother had neglected him by leaving a “severe toothache” untreated for “2 or 3 months,” and also that “the boy was allegedly abused by being forced to perform physical labor – including snow removal.”
It is easy to have sympathy with a father who feels his ex is not properly caring for a child and goes to court in an effort to put the situation right. From an Orange County family law attorney’s perspective, however, it needs to be said that taking the child to a different state without notice or permission, regardless of the circumstances, can look a lot like kidnapping in the eyes of the law and is not likely to help one’s case.
Grave steps, such as the reopening of a long-settled child custody and visitation agreement should always be preceded by careful consultation with an attorney, particularly when multiple states are involved. An Orange County father’s rights lawyer can help clients devise a strategy most likely to succeed in court and, in the process, help guarantee you the deep and significant relationship with your child that every parent wants and deserves.