Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy

The drama continues between the Real Housewives of New York star turned SkinnyGirl mogul Bethenny Frankel and Jason Hoppy, a pharmaceutical sales executive. The two were married in March 2010 and filed for divorce in January 2013. The two are now fighting for sole custody of their only child, 3-year-old Bryn.

In Ontario, a sole custody arrangement places the child full-time with one parent who is responsible for making decisions concerning the child without consulting the other parent.

As is the case with many separations, Bethenny and Jason are not on good terms. One source reports that “They hardly speak to each other, but when they do, it’s nasty”.

What makes this battle especially difficult is that Bethenny and Jason are still living in the same household! Adding even more fuel to the fire is the fact that Bethenny has a team of SkinnyGirl employees who work out of her Tribeca, New York City apartment, despite her financial ability to provide office space for them outside of the home. Could it be that Bethenny is keeping her employees there on purpose to drive her ex-hubby crazy? Bethenny also reportedly has episodes of calling Jason negative names in front of Bryn, such as “trash”, “lazy” and “stupid".

However, Jason is not innocent when it comes to his behaviour throughout this ordeal. On October 13, 2013, a New York judge prohibited both Bethenny and Jason from secretly recording each other. Apparently, Jason has made a habit of secretly recording Bethenny’s SkinnyGirl staff.

Best Interests of the Child

In Ontario, the test used by a judge when determining who to grant sole custody to is always the principle known as the best interests of the child. Although this may seem vague, the Court will consider all of the child's needs, including, but not limited to the love between the parents and the child, the child's preferences, the plan proposed for the child's upbringing, the permanence and stability of the family unit with which it is proposed that the child will live, and the ability of each party to act as a parent.

What would factor in heavily if this was an Ontario Family Court battle is the parties' past conduct, which is always considered during the "Best Interests of the Child" evaluation. In the case of Frankel vs. Hoppy, it seems uncertain who would be better at making decisions for Bryn. Neither party has the best track record.

A joint custody arrangement is only appropriate where both parties can cooperate with one another regarding making decisions for the child. It seems clear that the parties' are incapable of making decisions together, which will probably cause the judge to rule out Joint Custody.

Whether Bethenny or Jason will receive sole custody over Bryn Hoppe is a mystery at this point. Despite both parties' claims to be the "better" parent, both are exhibiting questionable behaviour.

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