Judge rules in Usher’s favor, dismisses ex-wife’s motion in son’s near-drowning
ATLANTA (CNN) — A Georgia judge Friday dismissed an emergency motion filed by the ex-wife of music mogul Usher Raymond seeking temporary custody of their son.
The judge ruled that even though the 5-year-old child was injured in a swimming pool accident this week, it was not an emergency or crisis situation requiring that Usher’s two children be taken from him.
The child, Usher Raymond V, remains hospitalized but is doing “much better,” his mother posted on Twitter.
“What happened here was an awful accident and… I’m not certain that had any single person been at the poolside that one person could have done any better than Ms. Oden. And Ms. Oden did impress me as a capable caregiver,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge John Goger said, referring to the boy’s aunt, Rena Oden, who was caring for the child at the time of the accident.
“Based on the evidence I heard, not one person could have done any better than Ms. Oden,” the judge added.
The judge then addressed Usher’s ex-wife, Tameka Foster Raymond: “Your standards for caregivers are rather high,” Goger said, pointing out that most people have been watched by a grandmother or aunt.
The judge instructed Usher to keep his ex-wife informed about his whereabouts and who’s taking care of their two children.
At Friday’s emergency custody hearing in Atlanta, Usher, as he is known in his career as a singer and actor, testified that he waited an hour to inform his ex-wife that their son had nearly drowned in a swimming pool accident because “the first thing to do was to respond to the emergency… My son was hysterical and in the back of an ambulance.”
His ex-wife testified earlier that she does not trust the childcare of Raymond’s aunt who was present when their son fell into the pool.
Foster Raymond also said Usher does not keep her informed about who is taking of their children or the doings in the children’s lives.
“They come home with bags of medicine. I don’t know why or what illness or who’s taking them to the doctor… he doesn’t confer with me regarding anything, nothing,” she told the court.
Foster Raymond became extremely emotional after the 911 call made by Usher’s aunt was played in court.
“I don’t know if my son is going to have a brain defect. I don’t know if his heart is operating correctly. I don’t know if my son’s going to be 100% the boy he was before this incident,” Foster Raymond said.
Foster Raymond said Usher’s aunt is incapable of keeping up with the two children.
In reference to their other son jumping into the pool to help Usher V, Foster Raymond testified: “He can’t even swim, he was trying to save his brother. That’s chaos, that is chaos, that’s chaos.”
She kept repeating “that’s chaos” as she wiped her eyes, and the judge told her to get off the stand.
Usher testified he’s notified Foster Raymond on several occasions about changes to the children’s caregivers, contrary to her earlier claims. He also said he’s scheduled to be in Atlanta for the remainder of August.
The children’s activities are outlined in a weekly e-mail, according to Usher. He said he tells Foster Raymond about doctors’ visits, summer camps, or travel, including the aliases used to book hotel rooms, in the rare event he travels with the kids.
When one attorney tried asking why Usher doesn’t update Foster Raymond on his travel plans, the judge jumped in: “An emergency means life and death — that these kids are in danger and need to be somewhere else.”
The judge told the attorney to move on with her questions.
At another point in testimony, the aunt took the stand. Oden said she’s disabled because of her back, but she can swim and attends therapy sessions in water. The aunt also said she knows CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, though she needs to be recertified.
When asked by Foster Raymond’s attorney if she can pick up more than 25 pounds, Oden said: “Sometimes, it just depends on how my back is feeling.
“I know how to take care of children,” Oden added.
Five-year-old Usher Raymond V is recovering from Monday’s accident at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital, according to the lawyer for Foster Raymond. A breathing tube inserted after the accident has since been removed, attorney Angela Kinley told CNN.
Usher, won primary custody of the couple’s two children, Usher V and 4-year-old Naviyd, last year after a bitter court fight in which Foster Raymond accused the singer of being an absentee father.
Foster Raymond filed in May for a custody modification. That case hadn’t been heard by the time the swimming pool accident happened Monday, so Foster Raymond filed Tuesday for an emergency hearing on the matter.
Usher’s former stepson, also Foster Raymond’s son, died in a watercraft accident on a north Georgia lake last year.
By Michael Martinez. Alan Duke and Rich Phillips
CNN’s Alan Duke reported from Los Angeles, and Rich Philiips reported from Atlanta. Michael Martinez wrote from Los Angeles, and Melissa Gray contributed in Atlanta.