Her milkshake may have once brought hip-hop icon Nas (aka Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones) to the yard, but now he and singer Kelis (aka Kelis Rogers) want nothing to do with each other. The famous couple married in 2005, but separated in 2009 when she was pregnant with their son. Their divorce and custody battles have spanned eight years, and have included allegations by Kelis of domestic violence and non-payment of child support.
They finally reached a custody settlement in January 2018, granting them joint legal and physical custody of their son, with Nas having custody on the first, third and fifth weekends of the month plus detailed holidays. However, Nas claims that since they reached that agreement, Kelis has violated it 17 times, and her most recent breach constitutes contempt of court. Over the New Year’s break, Nas says that Kelis moved to Colombia with their son, taking him out of his private school in order to home school him at her organic farm near Cartagena. Kelis’ new husband is a Columbian native, and Nas claims that Kelis plans to work on a sustainable farm project with him. If his claims are true, they are significant violations of the joint custody orders, and may result in jail time for Kelis.
Family Code §290 provides that “a judgment or order made or entered pursuant to this code may be enforced by the court by … contempt, or by such other order as the court in its discretion determines from time to time to be necessary.” Because contempt cases are quasi-criminal in nature, California courts have held for more than a century that all elements (knowledge of the order, ability to comply, and willful disobedience of the order) must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In re Witherspoon (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 1000; see also Coursey v. Superior Court (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 147.
Code of Civil Procedure §1218(1) lays out the penalties for contempt which is community service of 120 hours or imprisonment of up to 120 hours for each count of contempt, assuming a “first finding” of contempt. Upon further findings of contempt, imprisonment is mandatory.
Nas’ contempt motion will be heard in April. Kelis may be feeling “Bossy” right now, but once the contempt hearing happens, it will be Nas saying “Hate Me Now.”
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