Thomas Ravenel, a star on the TV show Southern Charm, has petitioned the court for sole custody of his two children, and he is also asking that the judge overseeing his case order the children’s mother, Kathryn Dennis, to pay child support. This high-net worth child custody dispute involves allegations of illegal drug activity and other issues that may influence the court’s final decisions in the matter. California parents currently trying to resolve similar issues will want to learn as much as they can about state laws and where to seek legal support as needed.

Dennis already had her custody privileges taken away once before and was ordered to enter drug rehabilitation, which she did. Since she regained custody, however, Ravenel has filed new documents, in which he has stated that Dennis not only continues to abuse prescription medication, she often drinks exorbitant amounts of alcohol while taking such drugs, thus placing his children at great risk. Ravenel further claims that Southern Charm producers and some cast members fuel Dennis’s illegal drug habit by engaging in buying, selling and trading prescription meds with her.

Dennis has not taken Ravenel’s actions lying down; in fact, she has countered his allegations by telling the court about sexual assault charges that were apparently made against him by a former nanny in his employ. The father of two says there was no merit to the accusations and that the nanny was bribed by Dennis to accuse him in order to give her the upper hand in their custody dispute. It is not uncommon for judges to deem parents with substance abuse problems or risk factors that possibly endanger children (such as sexual abuse) unfit for custody.

High-net worth child custody disputes often take months or longer to resolve. Every state has its own guidelines, and judges have full discretion to rule on a case-by-case basis. Any mother or father in California who wishes to bring a substance abuse issue or other co-parenting problem to the court’s attention may ask an experienced family law attorney to act on his or her behalf to do so.