Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel is in the middle of a bitter custody battle with her ex, Jason Hoppy, and she seemingly scored a win last week when the court scheduled a trial date for her to gain primary custody and full decision-making rights for their daughter, Bryn. However, a forensic expert concluded both Frankel and Hoppy were fit to parent Bryn, and the reality star might not get full custody.
Last December, the Skinnygirl mogul filed documents asking the court for a trial so she could get full custody. The judge granted her request and scheduled the trial date for March 2019. But when the former couple went to court last March, the judge denied Frankel’s request for immediate full custody and then ordered forensic expert Dr. Ravitz to determine a proper custody arrangement.
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Dr. Ravitz ended up recommending that the current custody arrangement stay the way that it is, which is 50/50 between Frankel and Hoppy. Then, his lawyers contacted her attorneys and asked if they could resolve the motion based on Dr. Ravitz’s findings. But, Frankel still wants full custody, and she apparently has no interest in resolving the motion or Dr. Ravitz’s recommendations.
“Dr. Ravitz’s report supported Jason’s position that the custody arrangement should not be changed,” explained an insider.
At last week’s hearing, the judge said that since Frankel and Hoppy couldn’t come to an agreement, he would schedule an evidentiary hearing on custody during their March 2019 court date. However, he also told the former couple that by scheduling the hearing for March, they still had time to resolve the custody issue on their own if they wanted.
“What occurred in court was not a ‘legal victory’ for either party,” added the insider. “The Judge continued the current 50/50 custody arrangement which would be considered a victory for Jason, if for anyone.”
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After the judge announced the March 2019 trial date, Hoppy’s lawyer, Robert Wallack, brought up Frankel’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Dennis Shields, who recently died of an apparent drug overdose. He said that Shields’ addiction brought up concerns about Frankel allowing him to be alone with Bryn, and said it wasn’t just a lapse in judgment, but “downright dangerous parenting.”
But a source close to Frankel says that the reality star is “clearly of sane mind,” and she knows what atmosphere her child should be in. And, for anyone to allege otherwise is unfair.
At this point, it isn’t clear if Shields’ addiction and overdose will have any influence on the judge’s decision about custody. But, legal experts say that since Shields wasn’t living with Frankel and her daughter, and he overdosed on his own prescription,
It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so. It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories. Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo
— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) August 26, 2018
Shields’ situation will probably not affect the custody arrangement. Hoppy would have to prove that Frankel exposed Bryn to Shields’ drug use and her safety was an issue. But, that is difficult to prove.
During last week’s hearing, the judge was pretty skeptical of Hoppy’s argument that Shields’ addiction was a poor reflection on Bethenny Frankel’s parenting skills. But, we will have to wait until March to find out how this ends.
Part two of the Real Housewives of New York City reunion will air Wednesday night on Bravo.