Home Children Child Custody Naya Rivera Files for Divorce after Arrest and Seeks Joint Custody

Naya Rivera Files for Divorce after Arrest and Seeks Joint Custody

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“Glee” star Naya Rivera recently filed for divorce from actor husband, Ryan Dorsey, and is seeking joint custody of their 2-year old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey.

Naya previously filed for divorce in November 2016, but the two reconciled soon after.

This time around, Naya cites “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split. Interestingly enough though, this divorce comes only days after Naya was arrested over Thanksgiving weekend for allegedly hitting her husband in the head over a dispute involving their son.

The question is, whether Naya will be awarded joint custody in light of her recent arrest.

In Ontario, the Children’s Law Reform Act provides that any determination in regards to the custody and access of a child shall be based on the best interests of the child.

Specifically, section 24 of the Children’s Law Reform Act provides that when determining the best interests of the child, courts shall consider the following:

24 (2) The court shall consider all the child’s needs and circumstances, including,

(a) the love, affection and emotional ties between the child and,

i. each person, including a parent or grandparent, entitled to or claiming custody of or access to the child,

ii. other members of the child’s family who reside with the child, and

iii. persons involved in the child’s care and upbringing;

(b) the child’s views and preferences, if they can reasonably be ascertained;

(c) the length of time the child has lived in a stable home environment;

(d) the ability and willingness of each person applying for custody of the child to provide the child with guidance and education, the necessaries of life and any special needs of the child;

(e) the plan proposed by each person applying for custody of or access to the child for the child’s care and upbringing;

(f) the permanence and stability of the family unit with which it is proposed that the child will live;

(g) the ability of each person applying for custody of or access to the child to act as a parent; and

(h) any familial relationship between the child and each person who is a party to the application.

Of more relevance is section 24(4) of the Children’s Law Reform Act, which provides:

24 (4) In assessing a person’s ability to act as a parent, the court shall consider whether the person has at any time committed violence or abuse against,

(a) his or her spouse;

(b) a parent of the child to whom the application relates;

(c) a member of the person’s household; or

(d) any child.

Given the above, in Ontario, even if the parties are agreeable to joint custody, if this arrangement is not in the best interests of the child – because one parent is violent or otherwise mistreats the other parent, then a court may not order joint custody and may instead order supervised or specified access.

To make things even more interesting, TMZ reports that Naya’s Thanksgiving arrest was not the first time the police got involved in the Rivera-Dorsey relationship; that Naya has previously called the police on Ryan on three different occasions. It’s unclear what would happen in a case where both parents have been arrested (and/or charged) for domestic violence. Needless to say, any determination of custody and/or access would be heavily dependent on what a court deems to be in the child’s best interests.

Andrew Feldstein The Feldstein Family Law Group (FFLG) is one the largest family law firms that practices Family Law exclusively in Greater Toronto, with 10 lawyers and counting. The boutique law firm has won the Top Choice Award for Family Law™ in Toronto for the past eleven years (2007 to 2017 inclusive). Managing Partner Andrew Feldstein has been practicing family law for more than 20 years and frequently comments on Family Law issues through the media. The Feldstein Family Law Group offers vast written, video, and media resources on its website to those who find that they need to end their relationship.