Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin

PALMER — Bristol Palin and former fiancé Levi Johnston have a court date together for the first time in more than a year.

Court documents detailing a years-long custody battle between the former couple show a hearing listed on the Palmer court calendar for Monday at 11 a.m.

“The parties have reached a final custody and visitation agreement for residing in the same community and have executed, personally and through their attorneys, a confidential stipulation regarding custody,” a notice to the court filed Nov. 16 reads. “Therefore, the only pending issue to be addressed by the Court is the matter of past and future child support.”

Bristol Palin is the daughter of former Wasilla mayor, Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and four-time Iron Dog champion Todd Palin.

Palin and Johnston share custody of their son Tripp, who turns 7-years-old later this month. Palin’s pregnancy was announced during her mother’s unsuccessful vice-presidential campaign with running mate U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2008. The younger Palin and Johnston initially told the public they planned to wed. Johnston even appeared on stage at some McCain-Palin campaign events during the 2008 presidential campaign.

However, as court documents filed in the Palmer circuit court describe it, “the personal relationship ended” in 2009. Shortly thereafter, Johnston undertook a public media campaign designed to publicly embarrass the Palin family, and designed in part to push the Palins into allowing him to play a bigger role in Tripp’s life, according to court documents filed in 2010 by Bristol Palin — some of which cite an interview in British newspaper The Guardian. Bristol Palin accused Johnston of peddling “lies and exaggerations.”

The two briefly got re-engaged in 2010 before ending their relationship over concerns about a music video Johnston had made. At the same time, Johnston was working to start a career as a model, running for mayor of Wasilla, and appearing on the Teen Choice Awards and in the pages of Playgirl magazine.

Johnston apologized privately for airing the Palins’ laundry in 2011, according to media reports.

Documents from the 2010 lawsuit indicate Johnston’s salary at one point was estimated at $100,000, and that by civil court formulas, his monthly child support payment amounted to almost $1,800 per month.

The earlier dispute over custody — Bristol Palin sued Johnston to obtain sole custody, citing sporadic visitation — ended with a settlement that was never approved by the court, yet which apparently allowed Johnston visitation between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, terms of which neither party adhered to, according to a March 21, 2014 order written by presiding judge Eric Smith. The original lawsuit was dropped in 2012 over failure to prosecute, but Johnston filed another lawsuit, which was eventually merged with the current court case.

Johnston remarried in October 2012, and he and his new wife have two daughters. Bristol Palin also sought to bar Tripp from contact with her paternal grandmother over a criminal charge for drug possession, according to Smith’s order.

Johnston “contends that their son loves his sibling,” Smith wrote.

However, early last year, questions about trips to Arizona, where the Palins maintain an additional residence, caused Johnston to bring the issue back to the courts, including two evidentiary hearings and a trial-setting conference. Johnston and Bristol Palin disagreed over whether Johnston had given permission for the Arizona trips. Johnston filed an order to show cause for why Palin was not held in contempt for violating the terms of their agreement, prompting Smith’s order explaining that a court had never reviewed the confidential settlement.

By September 2014, Johnston and Palin had come to a new settlement confidentially, meaning a second trial planned to resolve the issue wasn’t held.

Bristol Palin has filed a motion asking to appear at Monday’s hearing telephonically, according to court records.

Bristol Palin’s attorney, John Tiemessen, declined to comment, saying the matter — and the subject of the hearing — were confidential.

“Confidential is confidential,” he said.

Darryl Thompson, one of two attorneys listed as representing Johnston, abruptly ended a call seeking comment.

“I’m tied up right now and I’ll have to get back with you,” he said before hanging up the phone.

Contact reporter Brian O’Connor at 352-2270, brian.oconnor@frontiersman.com, or on Twitter @reporterbriano.

Load comments