It's War! Bristol Palin Seeking Full Custody Of Baby

Dec. 29 2009, Published 12:31 p.m. ET

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Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol is involved in a nasty legal battle with her ex-fiance Levi Johnston over custody of their one-year-old son Tripp, has learned.

In early November, Bristol filed a petition for full custody and child support. She’s also seeking a visitation schedule for Johnston, whom she says has exercised "sporadic visitation rights."

Johnston denied in court documents that he has avoided his responsibilities, and he is seeking shared custody.

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The custody battle has only now come to light after a judge last week denied a request from Palin to keep the proceedings closed. A temporary order had authorized the use of pseudonyms while the court was considering the request, which stated that no good "could result to the child by an onslaught of media."

Johnston has pushed for open court proceedings, saying he "just wants a simple case on the merits."

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"I do not feel protected against Sarah Palin in a closed proceeding," Johnston said in an affidavit. "I hope that if it is open she will stay out of it. Bristol's attorney is her attorney."

Palin's custody petition calls Johnston's recent nude photo shoot with Playgirl magazine "risque."

The document also notes that Levi's mother, Sherry Johnston, should not be allowed unsupervised visits with the baby following her drug arrest. Sherry Johnston, who is serving out most of her three-year sentence under home confinement, was sentenced last month on a guilty plea to one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller OxyContin.

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Palin's custody petition also suggested Johnston may have his own issues with substance abuse, saying he made statements about seeking "weed" on Twitter.

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Johnston denies making such a statement, saying the Twitter account "is a fraud" and that he doesn't have an account on the popular online social networking site.

In a motion opposing closed proceedings, Johnston's attorney, Rex Butler, argued that Bristol Palin had not shown what sort of evidence could stigmatize the child.

"This case presents a custody case with similar facts that attend open cases every day in the Alaska court system," Butler wrote.



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