The day after we ran Tamika Fuller’s heartfelt essay on her custody battle with Ludacris, the mother of the rapper’s youngest daughter was set to appear in court in request of a new trial in hopes of winning back custody of her child. Unfortunately, Tamika was denied a new trial and when we reached out for a statement on her case she told us this:
“Sadly, on April 9th the judge denied my motion for a new trial. Every day that passes when I don’t have my daughter feels like eternity. After being discouraged with the court system, I decided to share a personal account of my situation on Madame Noire, it was never meant as a media blitz but rather my side of the story in protest of my daughter being taken away when I felt powerless against her father’s machine. My side had not been shared up until this point and rumors that I was a bad mother or receiving 7k/month child support or asking for 15k were distressing me, none of which are factual. I’m back to working full time, but even that isn’t enough to cover the many expenses that come with this fight. I was hesitant to set up a Gofundme page but since my story ran I’ve received overwhelmingly supportive feedback from women and mothers across the country who have offered assistance and want to help with launching my organization. I plan to use donation money to start setting up my non-profit “No Mother Left Behind” with a mission to educate, enrich, enlighten and empower low income mothers and also to help bring my own daughter back. I’ve read and appreciate all the messages, prayers and similar stories that I’ve received. You have all made me feel less alone. We are all in this together. Thank you.”
As Tamika pointed out in her original essay, she is far from the first woman to have a child with an entertainer and find herself embroiled in a nasty custody battle so we reached out to Tamika’s lawyer, Lisa West, to get some clarity on the situation and advice on what other mothers in similar circumstances can do to protect themselves and their children. Here’s what she told us:
MN: In your opinion, what was the deciding factor that led to Ludacris being granted sole custody of he and Tamika’s daughter?
LW: I believe the deciding factor was money: Ludacris has it; Tamika does not.
MN: Why was a new custody trial denied? What next steps will you take now as a result?
LW: The judge gave absolutely no reason for denying our motion for a new trial. Our next step will be to appeal.
MN: What is the basis of your argument for why Tamika should be granted custody?
LW: Tamika should be granted custody of Cai because the evidence is irrefutable and undisputed that she has always been the primary parent of Cai and has always been a wonderful parent to Cai. Tamika, through great sacrifice and dedication, has dedicated her life to being Cai’s parent and Cai has thrived under her nurturing and care. Ludacris, on the other hand, has not dedicated his life to being Cai’s father. He is most often absent, making appearances, during which times he delegates his parenting responsibilities to third-parties.
MN: Do you think Tamika’s case is representative of a larger issue in the justice system in which money and power overrides what’s right?
LW: Absolutely. It is difficult to believe that our “justice system” can be influenced by money, power and wealth, but it is true. When one Googles “family court corruption,” the search results referencing tainted family court cases are overwhelming; and, very disturbing.
MN: What advice would you offer women who might find themselves in a similar situation?
LW: I would advise them to attempt to formally settle the matter before going to court by retaining an attorney who does not have the reputation of colluding with the opposing party for the attorney’s own benefit and who is willing to challenge the system. I would further advise them to be ready to fight for as long as it takes.