Dem Sen. Warnock ordered into mediation amid child custody dispute with ex-wife

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who won a special election in January 2021 to fill out the remainder of a term, is up for re-election this year and is locked in a battle against Republican candidate Herschel Walker.

A burgeoning legal scandal threatens to derail Warnock’s campaign, however, as he was just ordered into mediation by an Atlanta judge over an increasingly bitter custody dispute with his ex-wife, Oulèye Ndoye, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

The dispute involves allegations of child neglect, unpaid child support, and repeated violations of a prior custody agreement the divorced couple previously entered into following their split in 2020.

Mediation ordered

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shermela Williams issued a 3-page order on April 1 that cited “numerous unresolved issues” between Warnock and Ndoye as the basis for her referral of the case to mediation.

That mediation was ordered to begin immediately and be completed no later than May 7 and was to be overseen by the Fulton County Alternative Dispute Resolution program or some other private mediator, with any agreement reached being subject to the approval of the court.

The Free Beacon noted that Judge Williams also set a date of May 16 for a status hearing on the results of the mediation that both parties are required to attend.

Allegations of wrongdoing in a legal filing

The “numerous unresolved issues” cited by Judge Williams necessitating the ordered mediation were most likely about allegations put forward by Ndoye in a complaint filed with the court in February, which called for modifications to the custody and child support agreements as well as a contempt charge against Warnock for violating the prior agreements.

Ndoye alleged that Warnock is routinely out of town when it is his time to have custody of their two young children and that, rather than notify her of his absence as required, instead has friends or babysitters care for the children.

She also asserted that Warnock has refused to allow her to retrieve personal items from their previously shared home and, given a decrease in her income while the new senator’s income has greatly increased, requested a modified arrangement on child support payments to reflect the disparity.

Given all of that and more, Ndoye asked the court to hold Warnock in “willful contempt” for his repeated and varied violations of the prior agreements on custody sharing and child support payments.

Outcome crucial for Warnock either way

The Free Beacon noted that this scandal has the potential to significantly undermine Warnock’s re-election campaign, though it is also possible that, should the mediation prove successful with an out-of-court settlement, the whole thing could be swept under the rug with little to no negative impact on his electoral chances.

Meanwhile, the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the Georgia Senate race shows it to be a “toss-up” with Walker currently edging out Warnock by a slim margin of just 1.6 points, making this case and how it turns out for the Democratic senator incredibly crucial for the future of his political career.

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