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In many custody battles, one or both parents use each and every flaw or mistake of the other in order to gain the upper hand – many times exaggerating the facts or even lying. The Mel Gibson custody case is a prime example of this phenomenon. Mel Gibson may be rich and famous, but he’s dealing with the same issues millions of fathers struggle with after separating from their partners — how can he keep a relationship with his child, when his baby mama tries to keep him away?

Several months ago, Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva both sat down in a downtown Los Angeles law office and signed a private contract guaranteeing that her taped conversations of him, made in February, would never see the light of day. That out-of-court settlement also detailed child support payments for their baby Lucia and visitation for Mel. Both parties agreed, at the time, that the agreement was in the best interests of both the child, Grigorieva and Gibson, whom she taped allegedly threatening her and admitting to having hit her.

Within weeks, all hell broke loose. Both sides were slapped with restraining orders, a judge forced Grigorieva to surrender the audiotapes, and Gibson’s alleged temper went viral. So what happened? Did Oksana feel screwed over because Mel wanted out of the relationship” Did Oksana let herself get swept up in a horrendous mess by listening to the wrong legal advice?

According to sources in media reports, Grigorieva, 40, regretted signing the contract and sought new attorneys who advised her that they could get a better financial deal. Gibson, on the other hand, did nothing to violate the settlement. By going on the offensive, Oksana opened Pandora’s Box by disregarding the settlement and taking the case to court, which made the case public.

Accusations abounded: Substance Abuse. Domestic Violence. Mental Illness. Extortion. All are common tools used in high conflict custody battles to get the upper hand. In the end – who wins? Certainly not the child as evidenced by the Gibson case..

At present and after many months, Mel and Oksana are deep in the throes of child custody mediation. One of the big issues is where baby Lucia goes to school. Oksana wants to put Lucia in a private school by her home in the San Fernando Valley. Mel does not want to drive from Malibu to the Valley — a long drive when there’s no traffic — when he picks Lucia up and drops her off. He wants a school half way between their homes. In addition, Mel wants 50/50 custody, and he believes that would solve most of their issues, but Oksana is vehemently opposed to an equal split.

Many months of outrageous mud-slinging and hundreds of thousands of dollars later and there is no resolution in Mel Gibson’s custody battle. Sadly, this happens every day in family court to real people as well.


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