It’s a “Basic Instinct” to want to raise your child. But Sharon Stone has lost the chance to have 8-year-old son Roan live with her after a California family court ruled that Roan will reside fulltime in San Francisco with her ex-husband, Phil Bronstein.
Stone had petitioned the court to allow Roan to live in Los Angeles for the school year. Instead, according to court documents, Bronstein, whom Stone divorced in 2004, will have “permanent physical custody of child.” Previously, the couple had shared physical and legal custody.
The decision said, “Court finds the Respondent (Sharon Stone) failed to meet her burden of proof and denies her request for modification of custody.”
There’s no sugarcoating here. It is highly unusual for a father to have permanent custody of a child so young.
California courts may ask the “reasonable preference of the child,” but the statute is very clear that that is only “if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference.”
How old would that usually be? “Possibly 15, but usually 16,” says FWW’s Clifford M. Solomon, a divorce attorney for the White Plains, N.Y., firm of Solomon & Tanenbaum. “The court looks at the maturity of the child since you don’t want a situation where a father bribes a child to live with him to stop child support payments.”
So why would Bronstein get fulltime custody of his young son?
“The court really looks intently at circumstances and what is in the best interest of the child,” Solomon says. “If a parent is always on the road and leaving a child to be watched by a nanny, the court could think the child would benefit more from a devoted parent who isn’t moving around so much. The court also likes stability where a child can reside in one place.”
The court minutes confirmed this. Among the comments: “The court does not find that (a) move away is in child's best interest.”
“(Bronstein) can provide a more structured continuity, stable, secure, and consistent home that child, Roan, needs.”
Stone "shall have access to child," the minutes say, and her phone number "shall be programmed into the child's telephone and home phone."
After adopting Roan, Stone adopted two other sons on her own: Laird, 3, and Quinn, 2; she had hoped that Roan would get to know his brothers during the school year. However, the family will get together for holidays since she still retains those rights.
Bronstein is the former editor of The San Francisco Chronicle. The court will reconsider custody, it said, if Stone moves to San Francisco, or if Bronstein moves elsewhere.