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Celebrity Docket: Kelly Clarkson v. Brandon Blackstock Custody Trial

In this week’s Celebrity Docket, we’re checking in on one of our prior matters to review the results of a recent custody and visitation trial: Kelly Clarkson vs. Brandon Blackstock. Check out our prior Celebrity Docket for more information on who these two are, and why they are divorcing. Suffice it to say, things haven’t been going well since Ms. Clarkson filed for divorce earlier this year due to “irreconcilable differences.” Our prior Celebrity Docket discussed the divorce filings specifically, but the latest information on the parties’ matter deals with a contested custody court hearing.

According to USA TODAY (via the parties’ official court file), the Clarkson and Blackstock recently took the matters of their children’s custody and visitation before the court for resolution. Due to “the level of conflict between the parents” increasing and issues with co-parenting “due to issues of trust between them,” the judge found that “the interest in providing stability and continuity for the minor children weigh[ed] in favor of [Kelly Clarkson] having primary custody.” According to Eonline.com, Clarkson lives in LA and Blackstock lives in Montana, and the children attend school in LA. The ruling also says parties will share legal custody their children. Finally, the ruling states a specific schedule for parenting time and other provisions regarding “derogatory comments” and emergency contact information for school.

We can’t speak for California (since we aren’t licensed to practice law there), but we can speak to how a judge in Virginia may have evaluated the facts we know of the Clarkson/Blackstock co-parenting relationship. First, it’s important to note the standard that all courts in the United States must follow when it comes to a determination of a child’s custody and visitation: the best interest of the child standard. Read our prior blog here for more information. Now that you have brushed up on your factors, we find the “issue” highlighted by the judge in California related to “stability and continuity” interesting. Our experience of practicing family law in most of the courts in Hampton Roads, Virginia has shown a consistent emphasis in custody and visitation determinations on the best interest of the child being served where the most stability and continuity can be achieved. Sometimes, this is with both parents equally, but sometimes it is not. Regardless, during a divorce and the upheaval it causes to not only the spouses, but arguably, more so to the children, judges are often crafting their decisions around the goal of stability. Additionally, if it is true in Ms. Clarkson’s matter that her husband lives several states’ distance away from the children’s primary residence in LA, it is no wonder that, practically, she would be awarded primary physical custody. In Virginia, a similar ruling may have been decided, as it is quite difficult for both parents to share equal time with their children when the distance greatly inhibits it from happening. Of course, there are many facts that we are not privy to in this matter, but in Virginia courts, judges must go through all ten factors of our best interest of the child statute and state what facts in each factor leads to their ultimate decision.

While only time will tell if Ms. Clarkson and Mr. Blackstock’s divorce will continue to devolve their co-parenting relationship, but at least they have an order to work from to provide some predictability and routine for their children.

If you are amid a contested custody and/or visitation matter, or you would like to gather more information before you file to establish or change an order, the experienced family law attorneys at Morris Williams LLC – A Family Law Firm are here to empower you to make the best decisions for your, and your children’s, future. Give us a call to schedule a consultation today at 757-226-9425 or email us at admin@morriswilliamslaw.com.

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