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What makes celebrity legal disputes so interesting is that, if you watch closely, there can be a lot of free learning material available to you. This is the case in the ongoing Jon & Kate drama, in the currently developing Dodgers battle and it certainly is the case in what we are hearing from Sandra Bullock: The actress and her reality TV husband Jesse James are challenging a shared custody agreement that is in place between James and his ex-wife Janine Lindemulder.
Bullock, 45, does not have children on her own, but has been raising James’ 5-year old daughter Sunny with the Reality TV star for the greater part of this year. James was given sole guardianship when Lindemulder, who starred in more than 100 porn movies, was serving a six-month jail sentence for tax evasion. She was recently released, but reportedly still owes $318,000 in back taxes.
Lindemulder and James were married in 2002. James left Lindemulder for Bullock when she was seven months pregnant in 2003.
In a statement to court, James said that his daughter may not be safe with his ex-wife. He asked the court that Lindemulder should be “restrained from allowing the child around pornographers, drug addicts, guns and firearms, felons and other unsafe environments. […] Good cause exists for the court to conduct a review to determine if [the girl] will be safe with [Lindemulder].”
Lindemulder is currently in a halfway house and can apply for custody of her child at the beginning of next year. This will be an interesting story for single parents to follow, especially for those who are in a similar situation and those who intend to challenge an existing custody agreement.
Bullock apparently enjoys her role as mom to Sunny: “I may never hear that word “mom,” she said in an interview with CBS affiliate KOIN-TV. “But being a parent is not about breeding. It’s about caring.” She added: “When you don’t have that title, you flounder and it hurts. But this is the best test of being a parent. And I just have to keep reminding myself I don’t care what I get. I care what I give.”
Lindemulder reportedly sent a text message to James when she was charged last year, expressing fear that she might lose the shared custody agreement: “U WIN. Sandra has her baby congrats.”
Update: November 5, 2009: Sandra Bullock Invited To Discuss Child Custody