Many Kansas readers may be surprised to learn that the act of dueling as a means to resolve a legal dispute has never been abolished in the United States. While the most recent use of sword fighting to the death to resolve a legal battle occurred abroad in the 1800s, a man from this state who is navigating child custody proceedings in another state has filed a petition in court to request that the judge order trial by combat with his former wife. The man’s petition also states that the woman’s attorney may act as a champion or stand-in for his ex.
While the idea of sword battle may seem outrageous to most parents, the father in this case says he is at his wits end because his ex has destroyed him through litigation. He has told the judge that he plans to request trial by combat in every instance from now on when and if his ex drags him into court. The woman’s attorney has filed a countermotion, requesting that the court not order him or his client to take part in mortal combat.
The woman’s attorney noted that neither the U.S. Constitution nor the Iowa Constitution (which is the state in which the child custody proceedings are taking place) prohibit person-to-person sword combat. However, the constitutions do prohibit a court of equity from ordering such as a means of remedy to a legal dispute. The father in this case has insinuated that he hopes the action he has taken prompts a solution to his child custody problems; otherwise, he will continue to request a duel any time a legal dispute arises between himself and his ex.
It is highly unlikely that a judge would order parents to engage in a duel that could cause the death of one or the other, thus leaving the children in question without a parent. It is logical to assume that most Kansas parents are not interested in requesting trial by combat and are willing to try to resolve custody issues through more typical means, such as divorce mediation or, if unable to achieve an agreement, through litigation. An experienced child custody attorney can help protect a parent’s rights and the best interests of any and all children involved in a particular case.