Child Custody: Rich People Problems? What you share in common with Kanye West

Category: Family Law

As most know, two of the biggest stars in pop culture, the artist formerly known as Kanye West (“Ye”) and Kim Kardashian West, are in the process of dissolving their marriage. Ye recently stole the headlines from the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals on Super Bowl Sunday by becoming the number 1 trending topic on Twitter, as many responded to his barrage of Instagram posts about the divorce.

According to Forbes, Kim and Ye are both billionaires in their own right. However, the crux of Ye’s frustrations with the divorce proceedings does not lie with the financial issues. Rather, Ye’s main concern seems to be legal decision-making (custody) and  parenting time. For example, Ye was not given the location of his daughter’s birthday party and he publicly expresses his displeasure with Kim allowing his daughter access to TikTok. These are universal issues for parents of all income levels who find themselves in family court.

Interestingly enough, Ye rapped about a similar, albeit worse, struggle in the 2010 hit “All of the Lights” from the triple-platinum album entitled “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” (1)  An analysis of Ye’s lyrics with legal commentary serve as a good illustration as to how certain actions may significantly affect the course of a family law case.

First, Ye highlights the realities of domestic violence.

“I slapped my girl

she called the feds

I did that time and spent that bread” (2)

Not only can domestic violence lead to serious criminal charges, it also complicates legal decision-making authority (custody) and parenting time determinations. Where a court finds significant domestic violence exists or where there is a significant history of domestic violence, it is presumed that joint legal decision making is not in the best interest of the child. Furthermore, the offending parent must prove that they are not a danger to their child in order to exercise parenting time.

Ye’s second verse touches on the aforementioned limitations on parenting time.

“Restraining order

can’t see my daughter

her brother, mother, grandmother hate me in that order

Public visitation

We met at borders” (3)

Many victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders to restrict contact with their partner pursuant to A.R.S. 13-3602. Children may be included in the protective order where the court sees fit. An order of protection, especially when unfounded with no legal basis, can be frustrating and may impede negotiations between parties. On the other hand, orders of protection may be necessary to preserve the health of all those involved. In either case, parties should seek counsel that can advise them on how to challenge a protective order or navigate through a proceeding with a protective order in place.

As mentioned earlier, a finding of significant domestic violence will require a parent to prove that the child or children are not in danger when that parent exercises parenting time. However, as alluded to in Ye’s bar, the court may still limit parenting time by requiring that parenting time be supervised or in a public setting. This is true even where the court finds that the parent is not a danger to the child or children.

Even a hip-hop mogul like Ye appreciates the financial aspect of a divorce or custody battle.

“I made mistakes, I bumped my head

Courts sucked me dry, I spent that bread” (4)

Family court proceedings are emotionally and financially draining. If neither party can agree on anything, trial is necessary along with the requisite legal fees. However, if the parties can agree on at least some terms, then it’s best to settle those issues and reserve the highly contested issues for trial. A good family law attorney will draft extensive settlement documents such as stipulated parenting plans, property settlement agreements, and consent decrees to ensure all bases are covered.

At Davis Miles McGuire Gardner we handle all types of family law cases, and we recognize the stress our clients experience throughout the proceedings. Schedule a free 15-minute consult today to discuss the issues outlined above or any other family law questions you may have.


**Disclaimer: This article only discusses Arizona Law. California law governs the divorce referenced above.

[1] Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (UMG Recordings, Inc. 2010).

[2] Kanye West, supra note 1.

[3] Kanye West, supra note 1.

[4] Kanye West, supra note 1.