Usher, ex-wife to battle for custody of son

Posted at 8:25 AM, Aug 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-09 08:31:07-04

ATLANTA (CNN) — Lawyers for Usher Raymond and the singer’s ex-wife plan to wage a fresh child custody battle in court Friday, days after one of their children nearly drowned in a swimming pool accident.

Five-year-old Usher Raymond V is recovering from Monday’s accident at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital, according to the lawyer for his mother, Tameka Foster. A breathing tube inserted after the accident has since been removed, attorney Angela Kinley told CNN.

Foster said Wednesday on Twitter that her son was doing “much better.”

Usher, as he is known in his career as a singer and actor, 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 accused the singer of being an absentee father.

Foster filed in May for a custody modification. That case hadn’t been heard by the time the swimming pool accident happened Monday, so Foster filed Tuesday for an emergency hearing on the matter.

Foster complains Usher travels constantly and uses caregivers to watch the children rather than spending time with the boys himself.

“Her concern is more about how he prefers to leave them with third-party caregivers, over her. She wants to be able to take care of the kids while he’s gone,” Kinley told CNN on Thursday.

“It’s not about the money,” Kinley said. “Tameka still gets child support payments. She wants the kids to be with her, or with Usher. This pool incident, she says, brought the whole incident to a head, and was the impetus to file the emergency motion which will be heard Friday.”

Usher’s lawyers filed their response to Foster’s filing Thursday, but they refused to comment to CNN.

In a statement released Wednesday, Usher said: “I am blessed and fortunate to say that my son Usher V is doing well and is recovering. I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, love and support for my family’s well-being.”

Foster says her ex-husband is “not capable of providing daily caregiving and supervision for the minor children of the parties as petitioner is preparing to film a movie in Panama and has ongoing commitments that require his presence in Los Angeles, New York and various other cities for the Voice and his upcoming album.”

Her motion alleges Usher is away from Atlanta — where she and the children live — “in excess of 85% of each month.” He refuses to let her see the children when he leaves town, saying he “would rather the nanny raise the children,” Foster contends.

Foster also complained that her ex-husband does not talk to her about issues affecting the boys, “including school enrollment and summer activities.” The private school in which he just enrolled them is more than an hour from her home, she said. And, Usher has not given her the phone number to the home he moved to with the children in June, she said.

Foster blames the swimming accident on “the negligence and failure to properly supervise” the children. Usher’s aunt was in charge of the children when the oldest son “suffered a near-death accident while left unsupervised in a swimming pool,” the motion contends.

“I need an ambulance,” his aunt, Rena Oden, told an emergency operator in a call to 911. “My nephew was in the pool, and I couldn’t get him, I tried to get him.” A recording of the call was made public by police Tuesday.

The aunt, a housekeeper and another woman were “unsuccessful in pulling the victim from the pool drain,” but two men who were installing sound equipment in the home rushed to help, the report said.

“They’re doing CPR on him now,” Oden told the operator. “Is he coming around? He’s breathing!”

Sound technician Eugene Stachurski rescued the child from the drain and used CPR to revive him on the side of the pool, the police report said.

About five minutes into the recording, Oden told the operator that paramedics had arrived at the home and had taken over.

The child was “conscious, alert and breathing” when the ambulance took him to a hospital, where he was kept overnight for observation, the police report said.

Usher’s former stepson — also Foster’s son — died in a watercraft accident on a north Georgia lake last year.

–Alan Duke reported from Los Angeles, and Rich Philiips reported from Atlanta. CNN’s Melissa Gray wrote the story in Atlanta.