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Home Blog Celebrity Scenarios: Bethenny Frankel’s Ongoing Custody Battle
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Leslie_ONeal_9797_8x12By Leslie O’Neal

Bethenny Frankel began her rise to celebrity status as a regular on the Real Housewives of New York, where she was a cast member on Seasons 1 through 3.  Frankel quickly became a celebrity in her own right as a business mogul with the launch of her Skinny Girl products, her self-help books, her exercise DVDs, and her own talk show.  But despite her success as an entrepreneur, Frankel’s personal life has been far from glamorous in recent months.

Frankel married entertainment executive Jason Hoppy on March 28, 2010, while she was seven months pregnant with their daughter, Bryn.   The marriage quickly deteriorated after she and her husband documented their private lives on the reality show, “Bethenny Ever After.”  Bethenny filed for divorce in January of 2013 and shortly thereafter, Hoppy filed an aggressive response.  Surprisingly, the divorce has not centered on the appraisal and division of Bethenny’s multi-million dollar business enterprises, but rather on who will be granted custody of their 3 year old daughter, Bryn, with each party requesting primary physical custody.

In Georgia, there are over 17 factors that Courts will consider when determining what custodial arrangement is in the best interest of the child.  Those factors include the love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child, the love, affection, bonding, and emotional ties existing between the child and his or her siblings, half siblings, and stepsiblings and the residence of such other children, each parent’s knowledge and familiarity of the child and the child’s needs, the capacity and disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, day-to-day needs, and other necessary basic care, the home environment of each parent, the mental and physical health of each parent, each parent’s involvement, or lack thereof, in the child’s educational, social, and extracurricular activities, each parent’s employment schedule and the related flexibility or limitations, and the willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.  Children that have reached the age of 11 in Georgia have the right to convey their desire as to which parent should have primary physical custody to the Court.

Bethenny’s custody battle has become increasingly bitter and she recently admitted to Nightline that she is going through a “brutal, brutal time”.  Because custody cases can often reach a heightened degree of tension, one of the most difficult factors for determining the best interest of the child can often be the willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.  It is not uncommon in acrimonious cases that either one or both of the parties find it virtually impossible to speak favorably about the other parent.   However, speaking poorly about the other parent in the presence of the child is an indication that the parent is not putting the child’s interests before their own and is generally not tolerated by the Court.  Hopefully for Bryn’s sake, her parents can find a way to reach a compromise soon.

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