This week, the late Paul Walker's mother filed a petition in Los Angeles, California, asking to be named the legal guardian of Walker's daughter, 15-year-old Meadow Rain.
Paul Walker, the star of the wildly successful Fast and the Furious franchise, passed away this past November in a tragic and gruesome car accident immediately after leaving a charity event.
In the petition, Walker's mother, Cheryl Ann Walker, claims that "parental custody would be detrimental to the minor;" currently, Meadow's mother, Rebecca Jo Soteros, has de facto custody of the child.
What is the basis for Cheryl Ann's claim? Apparently Soteros has a "drinking problem." Meadow has been residing with her mother and grandmother, together, since August 2012, following a year in which she lived with Walker. Prior to that, Meadow had lived in her mother's care and custody in Hawaii.
The petition follows Walker's will wherein he expressed a wish that his mother "act as guardian of the person and estate of the minor." And it's not completely surprising seeing as Walker named Meadow the sole income beneficiary of a trust worth $16 million, which she will eventually inherit.
According to the documents filed, Cheryl Ann is not seeking custody of Meadow.
In Ontario, a person with custody of a child may appoint, by will, another person to act in that capacity upon the death of the appointer, pursuant to section 61 of the Children's Law Reform Act. Under this section, the appointer must be the only person entitled to custody of the child.
Section 47 of the Children's Law Reform Act authorizes a court to appoint a guardian of a child's property. When deciding who to appoint as a guardian of a child's property in Ontario, parents are equally entitled to be appointed as guardian, and a parent is to be preferred over a non-parent. Where more than one guardian is appointed, the guardians are jointly responsible for the care and management of the child's property.
In the instance of the Walker family, it is difficult to determine how a court will proceed. However, if Soteros is not contesting the petition and is even in support of it because of her alcoholism, then a court may side with Cheryl Ann. That being said, a court will weigh all the facts and a make an ultimate determination based on what is in Meadow's best interests.