Though the following story may not be happening right here in San Antonio (or Texas, for that matter), the circumstances of the case are important for any parents who are going through (or considering) a divorce.

A husband and wife in New York filed for divorce many years ago and have been involved in a very bitter and contentious split ever since. Central to their divorce is the matter of child custody. They have a 9-year-old daughter who has been with the husband since divorce proceedings began. Yes, the mother has been able to see and visit her daughter from time to time, but the major issue here is that the child custody case has been going on for three years.

New York law states that a child custody case is not supposed to last longer than 90 days. The mother believes something is amiss, and she has now filed a federal lawsuit (to the tune of $10 million) against the judge handling her child custody case.

Remember: if child custody is contested in your divorce, it is almost guaranteed to be the most divisive issue involved in your split. You will have to commit to the process and provide substantial proof as to why you deserve sole custody of your child. It’s a painful thought — but a possible one, so be prepared.

Thankfully, many parents agree to shared custody early in their divorce, or they reach a collaborative agreement that allows their child to have an active and healthy relationship with both parents.

Source: New York Post, “Mom sues judge over 3-year custody battle,” Julia Marsh, Dec. 2, 2013