November 16th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
The news media just can’t seem to get it right on Halle Berry and her ongoing custody battle with former boyfriend Gabriel Aubry. The two have joint custody and both live in Los Angeles. As has been much publicized, Berry wants to move to Paris to be with her current boyfriend, Olivier Martinez, so she petitioned the Los Angeles court to allow her to move to Paris with the couple’s four year old daughter, Nahla, leaving Aubry behind and Nahla without her father. Read about it here (Huffington Post, 11/11/12).
To no one’s great surprise, the court did the right thing last Friday and denied her request. California law looks askance at parents who want to move away and therefore deny the child a meaningful relationship with the other parent. So the judge told Berry ‘no.’
There’s nothing unusual in that, but the commentariat is having difficulty dealing with it. For example, the Huffington Post article claims that “On Friday, a judge in Los Angeles ruled that the actress, who went through a publicized custody battle with her ex Gabriel Aubry over their 4-year-old daughter Nahla last year, will not be able to move to France…”
Of course the judge ruled no such thing. Berry can move anywhere she likes; she can visit anywhere she likes or she can stay right there in Los Angeles. It’s entirely up to her. What she can’t do is deny Nahla her loving father by moving to Paris or anywhere else. HuffPo would like us to think of Berry as a victim in the affair, but she’s not. She’s just like any other parent who thinks depriving a child of the other parent is a fine idea.
Other publications are more blunt about the matter, agonizing that “Halle Berry Loses Custody Battle,” and “Halle Berry Shut Down in Custody Battle,” and the like. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that she and Aubry have joint custody, an arrangement that most fathers would give thanks to merciful providence for. But to the press that covers everything celebrities have to offer us, a judge ordering two parents to care for their daughter jointly constitutes “losing” to Halle Berry.
It’s just more of the usual double standard in public dicourse that assumes that mothers should get what they want in custody matters and fathers should pick up the crumbs, if there are any, and say ‘thank you.’