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Kim, Kanye, Privacy and the Day to Day Decision Maker: Another Celebrity Divorce Blog

Some of us here at Moe Hannah are willing to admit the truth: we are shameless, unapologetic, fervent fan of pop culture. Celebrities, music, fashion, reality TV… we love the friendships, the fall outs, the romances and the breakups. We become especially intrigued when pop culture crosses over into family law. For example, when Brad and Angie opted for a ‘private judge’ to solve their public parenting dispute we nodded in approval – arbitration was a good option for them. When Erika left Tom right before the law firm dissolved, we were all suspicious – was this an attempt to hide assets?  Bill and Melinda Gates, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos, the Britney Spears Conservatorship saga, Amber and Johnny… we are interested in the different legal approaches and strategies taken in each case. 

Recently, we have been following the separation and pending divorce of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who now goes by Ye. In the early part of this year, the celebrity headlines were awash with comments made by Ye about, what he perceives as, unfair limits on his parenting. In an interview, Ye complained that Kim’s security team wouldn’t let him inside Kim’s home after he had picked the children up from school. In another incident, Ye took to social media to complain that he wasn’t invited to his daughter Chicago’s birthday and was driving around the neighborhood looking for it. 

Ye has taken this further and, in classic rapper style, further outlined his complaints in a song released in mid-January. Sample lyrics include “I got love for the nannies, but real family is better. The cameras watch the kids, y’all stop taking credit” and “when you give ‘em everything they only want more. Bougie and unruly, y’all need to do some chores”. 

Usually, the problems of celebrities seem so far removed from our own. They seem to live on a foreign planet and have problems that are absolutely unfathomable to the rest of us. But, in this case, we would suggest that the issue of disentangling lives and setting boundaries is one that is all too common for parties going through separation and divorce. 

So, what does the law say? Would a Judge here in Alberta be on Team Kim or Team Kanye? We would suggest that it is clearly the former. 

Whether you have a team of security at your front door or not, all parties are entitled to privacy once they have separated. There are remedies in the court, such as orders for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home, that can ensure such things. Courts often emphasize the desire for parties to have a clean break. Parties are entitled to their space and to their safety. They are entitled to start new relationships and to keep their former partners out of their homes. The exception to this relates to parenting. Parties are not entitled to keep the other parent from the children. Unless, of course, it is not in the child’s best interests to be with the other parent. But I would suggest that this does not extend to the requirement to invite the other parent to birthday parties or any other family events. 

Ye’s complaints around chores relate to ‘day to day decision making’. Generally, parties have the right to make decisions regarding the care of their children during their parenting time. The Family Law Act in Alberta indicates that guardians have a right to be informed of and consulted about “all significant decisions” and goes on to say that, unless limited by a parenting order, each guardian may make day to day decisions affecting the child including daily activities. 

The courts promote independence on day to day decision making for the same reasons parties have right to privacy: parents are entitled to their autonomy following the breakdown of the relationship (within reason). What chores the kids do, where they go to a birthday party are up there with what they have for dinner, what books they read under the category of day to day decisions. Having to consult with a co-parent on each of these minor decisions would lead to an untenable amount of communication between two parties who are likely already experiencing some level of conflict. It could be paralyzing and prevent anything being done. Kim has a right to say what chores the kids do in her house without input from Ye, as long as the kids are safe. 

Having a Nanny is also a completely acceptable option for child care. Not only is it acceptable for one party to arrange this form of child care, but the courts have reiterated that a Nanny is a reasonable expense to be shared between the parties if it fits the definition under section 7(1)(a) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines: a child care expense incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment. Kim is not offside with this.

At the end of the day, Kim is entitled to some freedom from Ye. All parties are entitled to safety, privacy and to make the day to day decisions about the kids while they are in their own care. Family law courts know and understand that parties with children will not receive a ‘clean break’ from their former partners but they strive to give each party autonomy where they can and to limit the need to communication and consultation, especially when the parties are in high conflict. This isn’t about keeping parents from their kids. It’s about giving people the opportunity to co-parent with as little conflict as possible. Celebrities ARE just like us, we just might not be writing a rap song about our parenting woes.