Jesse Williams Granted Visitation In Custody Filing, He and Ex-Wife Ordered To Co-Parenting Counseling
Jesse Williams And Aryn Drake-Lee are still battling it out in court over custodial visitation rules.
According to People The Grey’s Anatomy star and the real estate agent, both 41, were together for over 10 years and married for five before he filed for divorce in April 2017.
The two share daughter Sadie, 8, and son Maceo, 7.
According to new court documents obtained by PEOPLE, Williams and Drake-Lee appeared in court on Sept. 30 where the actor was awarded his requested custodial visits with his children while he temporarily moves to N.Y.C. from Los Angeles this fall to reprise his Tony-nominated role in the Broadway revival of Take Me Out. (A previous court order granted Williams custody during his spring run in the play that allowed him four consecutive days a month in N.Y. with his children.)
While Drake-Lee previously argued against Williams’ visitation in N.Y., the court awarded that their two kids can visit the actor in N.Y. on specific days in October, November and December.
The court also ordered 10 sessions of co-parenting counseling for Williams and Drake-Lee.
The order also stated that “each party is restrained from making derogatory remarks about the other party, either directly or indirectly to the minor children, nor allow any third party to do so.”
In addition, the judge ordered that Williams and Drake-Lee are not to “discuss this case with or in front of the minor children nor allow anyone else to do so” or use their children as “a messenger to deliver messages to the other parent.”
“The parties shall not ask excessive questions or interrogate the children about what happened while when in the other parents’ custody,” the order stated.
The judge also ordered that neither Williams or Drake-Lee may “post derogatory remarks about the other party that the minor children can see in social media.”
Following the hearing, Drake-Lee appeared to make her feelings about the matter public, sharing an Instagram post about long-distance visitation.
“It turns out the court does think it’s good for children to regularly fly on overnight flights to accommodate a parent who won’t do the same for them,” she wrote. “Who knew? I knew…Those of us who walk this path know what it is and know what we need to do to protect ourselves and our babes to the best of our ability.”
“Every day we show up and do what’s needed despite the circumstances. I know I journey this road with my head held high and my integrity in tact. Let’s see how long it takes for the usual suspects to leak targeted language and storylines painting a particular party as the victim,” she added.
Earlier this month, Williams filed legal documents to change his custody agreement with Drake-Lee, claiming that his ex-wife was not honoring his previous visitation agreement that he had during his spring Broadway run.
He also alleged in the documents that Drake-Lee has not honored previously custody agreement commitments, such as an order allowing the non-custodial parent to call the children once per day.
Drake-Lee, in her court filing obtained by PEOPLE, argued that she’s focused on “the best interests of the children and the unreasonable burdens that would be placed upon them by [Williams’s] difficult and demanding requests.”
Williams’s ex also alleged that she is “experiencing emotional distress” from her communication with Williams and his legal team. “I am being bullied [and] harassed,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Williams and Drake-Lee have found themselves in court. Since their split. the pair have weathered a series of legal battles regarding custody of their children and Williams’s child support.
In June 2018, Williams was ordered to pay more than $50,000 per month in child support in addition to the $50,695 per month in spousal supportthat he had paid Drake-Lee since January of that year. Months later, the actor filed an appeal to fight the order, claiming he pays too much.
By October 2020, Williams and Drake-Lee had finalized their divorce, with documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time showing that the exes would share joint legal and physical custody of their two children. Williams was also ordered to pay his ex-wife $40,000 in child support every month, as well as over $100,000 in two spousal support payments.
Then, in April 2021, the former couple was ordered by a judge to attend a “high conflict parents” program as they navigate their co-parenting relationship.
Nearly a year later, in March, Williams and Drake-Lee settled their child custody dispute, which stated they will continue to share legal custody of their two kids. The judge also recommended that the exes seek co-parenting counseling, as “both seek a great deal of fine-tuning in their custody and visitation orders, much of which a court is not as well equipped to handle.”
Williams’s monthly child support payments were “temporarily” lowered a month later, in April — a modification that came following his May 2021 departure from Grey’s Anatomy. He went from paying his ex-wife $40,000 in child support each month to $6,413.