By Khushboo Motihar Last Updated:
Divorces are ugly; not only do they tear families apart, but they can sometimes lead to nasty custody battles as well. While some parents decide to go for a joint custody, enabling both of them to spend quality time with their children, on the other hand, there are couples who like to take their discord over parenting issues to the court.
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The same thing has been happening in B-town as well. There are many Bollywood couples who are going (or have gone) through marital discord. And, there are a number of children who have, unfortunately, been caught in the crossfire of their celebrity parents fighting for their custody. Let us have a look at some of the celebrity couples who are (or have been) in midst of such custody battles. Take a look:
On May 3, 2014, Leander Paes filed a petition in the court seeking the custody of his child Aiyana. What came out more shockingly was the fact that Rhea and Leander were never married, and have been in a live-in relationship for the past 8 years.
In his custody petition, Leander alleged that Rhea is not a good mother and that he is concerned about Aiyana’s well-being and safety. In his petition for custody, Paes also mentioned, "escapades, indiscreet and irresponsible behaviour, lack of personal maternal supervision, volatile temper and self-indulgence created insecurity in the child and was detrimental to a healthy upbringing," as reasons to seek sole custody. He also sought court’s order to restrain Rhea from taking Aiyana, out of Mumbai.
When Rhea was contacted, she refused to comment on the matter, but her lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh told the media:
“Rhea will fight for Aiyana's custody. As per the law, in a live-in relationship, the custody of the child usually goes to the mother.”
Soon after Leander went public with his petition, Sunjay Kapur too filed a petition seeking the custody his daughter Samaira, and son Kiaan Raj Kapoor. Initially, Sunjay had filed for the custody of Samaira, but later he filed one for Kiaan as well. Sunjay told the media that he was forced to take this step because Karisma did not allow him to meet their children. Lawyer Jalaja Nambiar, who represented Sunjay, was quoted as saying:
“It is a battle for both the parties, unless they opt for a settlement. It is not a cakewalk. It is a sensitive issue and should be dealt with in a sensitive manner.”
Later, as per the court's suggestion, the two decided to end their divorce battle amicably. They came to an agreement as per which, Karisma was given the custody of their kids while Sunjay was provided with the visitation rights.
Sarika and Kamal have two daughters, Shruti and Akshara. Though the couple had a troubled marriage, they stayed together till 2004. Post that, Sarika could not stay with Kamal because of his alleged relationship with another woman, and she moved out, along with her two daughters.
She later decided to file a petition for the custody of her daughters. She won the case and moved to Mumbai with them. When Shruti Hassan grew up, she later went to stay with her father, and his live-in partner, Gouthami.
Reena Roy married Pakistani cricketer Mohsin Khan and settled in Pakistan. Soon after this, the couple was blessed with a beautiful baby daughter, and they named her Jannat. However, their marriage did not last long and Mohsin, was granted the custody of their daughter.
After a long legal battle and Mohsin Khan’s remarriage, Reena was able to win the custody of her daughter. She brought her to India and re-named her Sanam.
In 1987, Sanjay Dutt married Richa Sharma, and soon they welcomed their daughter, Trishala, into the world. However, the marriage hit the rocks when Sanjay was accused of being in possession of illegal weapons, after the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Richa, who was suffering from brain tumour, passed away in 1996, which left Trishala all alone. Richa’s parents and her sister Ena, decided to fight for Trishala’s custody, as they were concerned about her upbringing.
Sanjay too fought the custody battle, but unfortunately, lost the case, and Trishala went on to live with her grandparents in the USA.
Shilpa Shetty’s husband, Raj Kundra, and his first wife, Kavita Kundra, too were embroiled in a bitter custody battle of their child, Deleena. Initially, Raj was allowed to visit his daughter during the weekends and on weekdays in Kavita’s presence.
However, given Raj’s alleged infidelity, Kavita did not want him to have any contact with the child, and she approached the court to revoke his visitation rights. Raj Kundra eventually lost the case.
However, there are some exceptions in Bollywood too. There are couples who have decided to sensitively deal with their divorces, especially for the sake of their children.
Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan who are officially a divorced couple now never fought for the sole custody of their sons, Hridhaan and Hrehaan. Lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh, who has been fighting quite a few celebrity family battles, has been quoted saying:
"Hrithik and Sussanne sorted out parenting issues in a mature and healthy manner. They were graceful and did not drag the kids into their differences.”
Even Aamir Khan and Reena had dealt with their divorce maturely. In fact, Aamir Khan went on to say:
“Reena is extremely important and is very much a part of the family and she will always be. Our relationship has undergone a change. From legal point of view we are divorced. But I think the bond that we share is not going to break with a piece of paper. There is lot of love and regard for her in my heart.”
Chitrangda Singh and Jyoti Randhawa too, have peacefully settled their family discord, and have been granted a divorce on mutual grounds. Chitrangda has the custody of their son Zorawar, and Jyoti has visitation rights, and both the partners are happy with this settlement. Osama Suhail, who represented Chitrangda says:
"In most custody battles, parties accuse each other of drunkenness, multiple relationships, adultery or having no time for kids. Educated and mature parents belonging to respectable families should understand that such mudslinging will neither help them nor their children."
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So, these were the celebrity couples who went to court for the custody of their children. Yes, children should not be dragged into a couple’s fights, because it has an adverse effect on their minds and well-being. It does not matter who wins the custody battle because it is the child who loses one parent. So, wouldn't it be in the best interest of everyone if parents look for amiable and peaceful ways to settle their personal issues?