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NBA player Lamar Odom falls asleep at child custody hearing

Tampa parents who have gone through child custody hearings know that they can be highly emotional and difficult to experience. Having a court decide the amount of time you will spend with your child can lead some parents to extreme behavior in order to impress a judge. However, not all parents take the same approach.

Recently, professional basketball player Lamar Odom appeared to fall asleep in court during a child custody hearing. When lawyers left the courtroom to discuss elements of the case, the basketball player lay down on a bench and fell asleep. A court officer checked on the health of the Clippers player, and then him to sit up. Odom is currently in a heated custody battle for his five-year old son and nine-year-old daughter with his ex-girlfriend Liza Morales. Odom is currently married to Khloe Kardashian.

Child custody cases can be difficult to handle emotionally. If both parents have an amicable relationship, it is possible to arrange custody without the use of a court. In such cases, parents would share decision making jointly for their children. In cases where there is not an amicable relationship, or where one parent believes the other parent to be unfit, the use of the court system may be necessary.

Legally speaking, a custody arrangement will be based on a child's best interests. Typically, physical custody will be awarded to a parent when the child will live with them for the majority of the time. On the other hand, courts generally will lean toward awarding legal custody to both parents, to jointly make decisions regarding the child's health care, education, religion and other important decisions and issues.

In cases where court intervention is necessary, parents can become adversarial and tend to act in uncharacteristic manners. It is important to remember that a judge is evaluating what will be best for your child, partially based upon your behavior and demeanor in court. If you are currently seeking custody of your child, an attorney can help evaluate your case, and inform you of your legal options and help to represent you. While family court judges are familiar with the emotions that typically accompany child custody hearings, it is safe to say that staying awake is an important step.

Source: LA Times, "Lamar Odom reportedly falls asleep at child-custody hearing," March 6, 2013

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