Man asks for trial by combat in custody case

U.S. & World

(CNN) – A Kansas father has proposed settling a custody battle with a swordfight. He’s representing himself and asked a judge to allow a “trial by combat.”

The man says he’s not crazy, just frustrated.

We can all thank “Game of Thrones” for bringing attention to the phrase “trial by combat.”

That’s what David Ostrom had in mind when he submitted court filings in Iowa over a protracted child custody and money battle.

The attention grabber? Petitioner demands the court sanction trial by combat to resolve these disputes.

“I’m not interested in physically causing harm to anyone,” he said.

He says he’s not violent or crazy but frustrated by what he considers a system that in some counties, specifically in his case, is stacked against men when it comes to issues of custody and financial support.

“They’ve tried to ignore me and not address equal custody, and I think this puts a spotlight on them,” Ostrom said.

The approach was eventually outlawed in the fictional TV show, but no such explicit prohibition exists in the U.S., which was part of Ostrom’s argument.

His ex’s lawyer responded in court that just because the U.S. and Iowa constitutions do not specifically prohibit battling another person with a deadly katana sword — that’s the weapon Ostrom suggested — it does prohibit a court sitting in equity from ordering same.

The lawyer then asked that Ostrom lose visitation rights and submit to a psychiatric evaluation.

Ostrom says he knows the whole thing is ridiculous and absurd and that’s the point.

“I’ve kind of run out of options and no one pays attention to what I think is hardship on myself and my children.”

He’s got attention now, more widespread than he wanted, but heck, he says he’ll take it if it opens up the conversation about co-parenting in his case and others.

The judge ruled on Monday that he wasn’t taking any action on the case because proper procedural steps had not been taken.

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