In the latest edition of Real Housewives of New York alumna Bethenny Frankel child custody drama, her former husband Jason Hoppy is refusing to allow their daughter Bryn to appear on television on Bethenny’s anticipated new talk show in the fall. He is reportedly refusing any appearances at all, from being in the audience to appearing in pre-taped segments that will be broadcast.
For Bethenny, who is trying to build off of her reality television fame to a successful talk show career, this could potentially put a damper on her plans to emphasize her family feeling. This issue of consent to photography is a question of legal custody, which is the ability to make legal decisions for the child. In Pennsylvania, there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody, which is to what people generally think when they hear the term, is the physical residence of the child, such as to which house the child is supposed to go after school.
Equally important is legal custody. This type of custody determines which parent is able to make important decisions for the child, such as health, religion, and school. It is possible to have both types of custody, one type of custody, or neither type. For example, a Court usually prefers to order shared physical custody and shared legal custody. This means that the child will spend relatively equal physical time with both parents, and both parents are allowed to make decisions for the child. This usually means that they have to consult with each other before making any major decisions. At the other end of the spectrum is sole physical and legal custody. This usually will be accompanied by visitation for the custodial parent, but in certain circumstances can not have a visitation component. In this case, the child will live with and have decisions made by only one parent. If the other parent has visitation rights (which can be either supervised or unsupervised) then they are allowed to spend time with the child, but cannot make any legal decisions on their behalf. There are also other possible custody combinations.
Bethenny and Jason are obviously going to have to fight out their dispute in Court, because they have distinct and conflicting views on what is appropriate for the child. As long as both are continually deemed by the Court to be fit parents, then it is unlikely that any one will prevail with sole legal custody.