Bristol Palin Weighs in on Child Custody Battle with Levi Johnston: 'I Did Not Lose'
It took seven years and $100,000 in legal fees, but Levi Johnston, the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin, finally won joint custody of their 7-year-old son, Tripp. As far as Palin is concerned, however, the outcome of the dramatic custody battle is a win-win.
The daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took to Instagram early Thursday morning to share her feelings on the judge’s ruling.
“These babies are my world and I will always be doing what is best for them,” she wrote of Tripp and her baby daughter, Sailor Grace, the identity of whose father remains uncertain.
“Every child deserves two loving parents, so I will continue to encourage that no matter what. I have never, and will never, keep them from having a positive relationship with their fathers. I did not ‘lose’ any custody case – my son has always spent most of his time with me and he will continue to do so, he is happy, healthy, and knows both of his parents love him.. Matthew 5:11.”
Following Bristol’s announcement, her lawyer, John J. Tiemessen, clarified the court proceedings in a statement to PEOPLE, that echoed his client’s sentiment about wins and loses, stating clearly, “Parents ‘win’ when they can have a meaningful co-parenting relationship.’
He added that kids “win” when both parents are involved and supportive in their lives.
“Bristol and Levi’s relationship has evolved and matured over the past eight years,” he continued. “Although there were periods of time with sporadic contact while Levi matured, for severel years, Bristol and Levi have shared legal custody; Bristol has primary custody with Levi enjoying liberal visitation rights.
“Bristol has encouraged Levi and Tripp’s relationship and would never keep a child from having a relationship with their parent. bristol loves that Levi has an active role in Tripp’s life.”
In 2009, nearly a year after Tripp was born, Johnston announced plans to sue Bristol for joint custody, alleging that her family was making it difficult for him to see his son. In 2013, he filed a petition seeking equal custody.
Johnston took to Facebook on Tuesday to announce that he had finally won joint custody of Tripp.
“I’m so happy to have my son in my life, and to put all of this back in (sic) forth in the courts behind me,” Johnston, 25, wrote. “It might have taken me 7 years and cost me around $100,000 in lawyer fees, spread out among 3 different lawyers, as well as a lot of patience, but it was all worth it.”
“I’m happy now to be successfully co-parenting,” he added.
Tiemessen also divulged details about the parents’ child support agreement which he says has been their primary point of tension.
“Levi hasn’t paid child support except under court order or involuntary wage garnishment. Like many men, Levi the man is having to settle debts incurred by Levi the boy,” he added. “The court has not yet ruled on the amount of his child support obligations for 2013 through the present day nor has the court ruled on Levi’s future child support obligations.”
While the monetary support issue is currently still on the table, Tiemessen believes it will be resolved within the next few months.