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Actress is embroiled in bitter battle for child custody rights

In Texas and nationwide, societal and legal norms are changing, and it is now somewhat less likely that a mother will be awarded full physical custody of the children in a divorce case, even if those children are still in their infancy. In the past, the "tender years" doctrine applied to give mothers an edge for child custody with respect to very young children. The aggressive lobbying efforts of fathers in recent decades, along with evolving sociological studies, have brought both parents into more equal footing in such matters.

Traditional norms about child custody may be even more challenged among celebrity couples found navigating the divorce waters. Many fathers in the entertainment world seem ready and willing to assume parenting roles previously associated almost exclusively with mothers. This may be illustrated by the ongoing divorce and custody proceedings involving actor Scarlett Johansson and her estranged spouse, journalist Romain Dauriac.

After Dauriac revealed to Johansson that he would file in France for primary physical custody of their 2-year-old daughter, Rose Dorothy, Johansson did what her attorneys would undoubtedly have recommended. She filed immediately for primary physical custody in New York. Dauriac is basing his claim on allegations that Johansson is too busy for Rose Dorothy, as she travels throughout the world making movies and attending public functions. Mr. Dauriac's attorney points out that Ms. Johansson has two apartments in France and will hardly be inconvenienced because she can see her at any time there.

It appears from reports that the two were negotiating for child custody between themselves prior to filing any legal action. Johansson precipitously filed in New York without warning to Dauriac. Although the parties have a prenuptial agreement that may tend to prevent a large economic burden on Johansson, the real dispute is regarding the child, which is an issue not generally resolved by contract law. In Texas and all other jurisdictions, the paramount consideration is determination of what is in the best interest of the child.

Source:, "Scarlett Johansson Divorce & Custody Battle -- Romain Dauriac Wants To Move Daughter To France", James Robertson, March 15, 2017

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