Damon Dash Loses Custody of Daughters

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 21, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Damon Dash lost custody of his children, and he wasn't even there to hear the judgment.

Like a few other famous fathers, former Jay-Z manager, Damon Dash, was in a bitter custody battle with ex-wife Rachel Roy. Both wanted sole legal and physical custody of their two daughters. According to reports, Dash accused Roy of driving drunk and threatening him with a knife. Roy reportedly accused Dash of smoking weed around the kids. However, unlike many fathers, Dash failed to show up to his court date.

Unsurprisingly, the judge granted Roy sole custody of the children and a three year restraining order against Dash. Dash only got supervised visitation.

Losing Custody

Courts are often hesitant to deprive a parent of all custodial rights. It is usually in the best interest of the child to have both parents involved in their upbringing. So, there often has to be some very serious problems before a judge will grant one parent sole legal and physical custody.

Grounds for taking away a parent's custody rights include:

  • Severe or chronic physical, sexual, or psychological abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Parental disinterest
  • Failure to maintain contact with the child
  • Felony conviction for a violent crime against the child or another family member

Courts will not make a decision to grant one parent sole custody lightly.

Dash's Case

Many reports harp on the fact that Dash didn't show up to the hearing. Not showing up to the hearing can be taken to show that he may not be as interested in the welfare of the children as he claimed. While this reason alone probably wasn't enough for the court to relieve him of all custody, it may have been a factor.

News reports were also unclear on the judge's reasoning for giving Roy sole custody of the kids. One possibility is that there may have been allegations of domestic violence.

California Family Code 3044 states, "Upon a finding by the court that a party seeking custody of a child has perpetrated domestic violence against the other party seeking custody ... there is a rebuttable presumption that an award of sole or joint physical or legal custody of a child" to that person is detrimental to the best interest of the child.

The judge granted Roy a three year restraining order against Dash.

Nonetheless, we, and Dash, can only speculate on what actually happened in the court room. If only he had shown up.

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