The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Legal Blog

Court denies Jesse Williams’s child custody request

During their marriage of approximately eight years, Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee had two children. Their kids are now ages 5 and 7, and for the past three years, their parents have been navigating divorce proceedings. Williams and Drake-Lee have reportedly been struggling to find common ground regarding child custody, child support and spousal support issues. Texas readers who might currently be facing similar issues may be able to relate to the Williams versus Drake-Lee case.

Williams and Drake-Lee started out in a shared child custody arrangement

When Williams and Drake-Lee finalized their divorce in Oct. 2020, they agreed to share physical and legal custody of their two children. Physical custody refers to where children live while legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the authority to make important decisions on a child’s behalf. Joint custody means the parents share equal responsibilities in these and all other parenting issues.

At some point, Williams changed his mind

If a parent has a legitimate reason to do so, he or she may file a request for modification of an existing court order. Williams did this because he felt that the $50,000 per month in child support and more than $50,000 per month in spousal support he had been paying were unrealistic. He also requested a child custody modification, but the court ruled that it was not in the children’s best interests to change the existing shared custody order. The court also ordered Williams and Drake-Lee to attend high conflict parenting classes together.

A court might grant one request but deny another

The court has since lowered Williams’s child support payments to $40,000 per month. If a Texas parent requests a change from shared child custody to sole custody (although no details were provided as to the exact request Williams filed) he or she must convince the court that the children in question would be better off living with one parent over the other and that the same parent should have the sole authority to make major decisions on behalf of the children. Instances wherein a family court judge might grant such a request would be if evidence proves that a co-parent has a substance abuse problem or has committed child neglect or physical abuse.

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