If you're one of many Colorado residents who are fans of reality TV shows, you're likely familiar with Bethenny Frankel. If you also happen to be preparing for child custody proceedings, you may want to follow Frankel's case, which has been ongoing for several years now. It seems that she and her ex-husband, Jason Hoppy, have done battle several times in court. However, they still seem to have some unresolved issues, and Frankel has recently petitioned the court for child custody modification.
There's an existing court order in the Frankel/Hoppy case that stipulates a shared custody arrangement. Frankel says her ex is abusive, and she believes her daughter would be better off if the court would change the order to make her the full-time custodial parent. The famous reality TV housewife says her ex mistreated her dog and that he has been too rough with their daughter as well.
The court doesn't act on a whim
You can't simply file a petition in court and expect a judge to honor your request without further investigation. The following information explains factors of consideration that may convince a judge to modify a child custody order:
- Evidence of abuse: If you say your ex is mean, it doesn't necessarily mean the court will legally define that meanness as abuse. If you have evidence to substantiate the claim, the court may be more inclined to rule in your favor.
- Unfit parenting: The court may order supervised visits or prohibit all contact with a child if a parent is a drug addict or struggles with an alcohol addiction. You must be able to qualify such statements.
- Children's best interests: What is best for the children involved? This is the court's central focus.
- Children need consistency: If the court has already issued a child custody order, it isn't likely to modify it without good reason. Children fair best in divorce when a sense of normalcy and routine exists, so unless you can show just cause why the court should change its order, it's likely to stay the same.
As you navigate child custody proceedings, keep in mind that you'll need to have just cause for requesting a change if you and your ex agree on a particular arrangement and sign documents to confirm your agreement. If you are accusing your ex of being abusive, you need to show the court evidence that your child is at risk in his or her co-parent's presence.
Time will tell if Bethenny Frankel can convince the court to grant her request for full custody of her daughter. This case shows that it pays to make well-informed decisions and to avoid signing a child custody agreement unless you are absolutely sure it is in your child's best interests to do so.