As Grammy winning performer Usher (Usher Raymond IV) demonstrated in a long drawn-out legal battle with his ex-wife, Tameka Foster Raymond, fathers can be awarded primary physical custody of their children.  Usher was awarded primary custody of his two children with Foster, Usher Raymond, age 4, and Naviyd Ely Raymond, age 3.  His primary custody will begin on September 1, 2012. 

The couple married in 2007 and divorced in 2009 due to an irretrievably broken marriage, with no reasonable hope of reconciliation.  The divorce proceedings became more acrimonious in May, however, when Foster’s attorney accused Usher of neglecting his children and putting his career at the top of his priority list, ahead of being a father to his two young sons.  The accusation caused Usher to break down in court, shedding light on the emotional side of custody trials.  Demonstrating that Usher had the best interests of his children at heart, he testified that his ex-wife had hit him, but that he elected not to press charges because he wanted to spare his children, and “didn’t want the boys to know that their father put their mother in jail.”

Despite the accusations from Foster that Usher was not an involved parent, Usher prevailed in the end, proving that he is fit to be the primary care taker for his young children.  While the ruling may come as a surprise to some, because it isn’t every day you see a father gaining primary residential custody over a mother, the important take-away message from Usher’s victory is that even in the world of celebrities, dedicated fathers can serve as primary custodians.  Usher follows the path of other celebrity fathers, including Dwyane Wade, represented by James B. Pritikin, in successfully winning the battle to be a part of their children’s lives, and gives hope to other celebrity fathers that they, too, can be primary residential parents.

This post was written by Aubrey J. Parker: Family Law Associate

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