Sonni Pacheco, model and estranged wife of actor Jeremy Renner (best known for his roles in The Hurt Locker and as Hawkeye in Marvel’s The Avengers) is engaged in a legal battle with Renner over child custody of their 22-month-old daughter, Ava. According to Pacheco, Renner has spent little time with his young daughter, only engaging in one-on-one time at his wife’s insistence since the baby’s birth. Pacheco is asking for child support as well as $100,000 in attorney fees and other legal expenses.
Pacheco desires primary physical custody of the child, citing Renner’s unsafe home environment as a factor in her decision to pursue this course of action. She describes such potential hazards as an unfenced pool area and 12-foot deep koi pond and a large collection of guns and other weapons. The guns, according to Pacheco, are unsecured, with one hidden in the bar area and another in the actor’s bedroom.
Of course, this is only one side of the story. We have not yet heard how Renner will respond to these allegations.
How Does a Judge Determine a Child’s Best Interest for Child Custody?
In many cases, parents are able to decide matters of child custody for themselves during the divorce proceeding or in mediation. However, if the parents cannot agree, a court will make the necessary decisions. When a judge considers custody of a child, he or she looks at several factors to determine the “best interest” of the child. Some questions a judge might consider are:
- What is the child’s interpersonal relationship with each parent like?
- Which parent will provide the safest home environment?
- Is either parent “unfit” to have custody? (Drugs and alcohol, history of violence, etc. can all disqualify a parent from custody)
- What’s the employment status of each parent?
- What are the financial statuses of the parties?
- Who has historically been the primary caretaker of the child?
- Are both parents willing to help the child continue the relationship with the other?
In Colorado, there are two types of custody: physical (parenting time) and legal (decision-making). You can learn more about these on our child custody page.
Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Child Custody Lawyers