As per usual, a Kardashian is making headlines for ending one of their highly publicized relationships. This time, it's Kourtney and her long-time beau, Scott Disick. Scott was photographed partying in Monte Carlo over the July 4 weekend and cozying up with ex-girlfriend Chloe Bartoli. E! News reported that Kourtney dumped Scott after she saw the pictures. Sources also report that Scott has been partying and hasn't been home to see Kourtney or their three children, 5 year-old son Mason, 3 year-old daughter Penelope, and 6 month-old son Reign, in over a month. Kourtney and Scott started dating in 2006 and never married.
According to Ontario family law, custody and access issues must be determined in accordance with the "best interests of the child" principle. To determine what parenting and living arrangements are in a child's best interest, a court must consider all of the children's needs and circumstances including:
- the love, affection and emotional ties between the children and the parents;
- the ability of each parent to provide the children with guidance and education, the necessaries of life and any special needs of the children;
- the plans proposed by each parent that details how they would provide for the children's care and upbringing; and
- the permanence and stability of the family unit where the parents propose the children to live.
Interestingly, a parent's past conduct or misconduct is generally not a factor in determining whether a parent will have custody (the right to make decisions regarding the child's care and upbringing) or access (the right to visit a child and be informed of the child's health, education and welfare). Therefore, Scott being photographed with another woman would not be held against him if he applied for either custody or access.
However, if a person's past conduct speaks to his or her ability to act as a parent, then it is relevant and a court may consider the conduct when making an order for custody or access. For example, Scott has a long and well-documented history of drinking, using drugs, and being absent from the home. This information may suggest to a court that Scott is unable to provide a stable home for his children and is not able to act as a parent.
Further, if Scott continues to live separate and apart from Kourtney and he acquiesces or consents to the children living with her, then Kourtney would have de facto custody. This means that Scott would lose his right to exercise custody (but not access) until a separation agreement or court order provides otherwise. If the children are doing well living primarily with Kourtney, a court is unlikely to make major changes to the status quo. Therefore, if Scott plans to apply for custody or access at any time in the future, it would be best if he cleaned up his behaviour and returned home right away.