Usher Retains Custody Of Children Following Pool Accident

A judge dismisses Tameka Raymond's request for temporary custody of their children on Friday.

After an afternoon filled with emotional — and, at times, contentious — testimony from both Usher and his ex-wife, Tameka Raymond, a judge in Atlanta has denied Raymond's request for temporary primary custody of their two children.

The Friday hearing came after a near-fatal accident at Usher's house in Atlanta, where one of their children, Usher V, was swimming in a pool and got his hand stuck in a drain. His aunt, and a maid attempted to save him, but were unsuccessful. The child remained at the bottom of the pool until two men, who were working in the house, finally removed him from the pool and performed CPR.

Usher was not home at the time of the incident, and two days later, his ex filed paperwork accusing him of putting Usher V and their other son, Naviyd, at risk because of his busy schedule. Raymond also claimed that Usher delegated supervisory responsibility to his aunt, who was not trained as a caregiver, and asserted that the singer had also fired every caregiver who was on staff when he was awarded primary custody of the children last year, and does not keep his ex-wife informed of his travel schedule.

And at Friday's emergency hearing, Raymond took the stand to back those claims up. She testified that the pool at Usher's house "did not have any kind of safety fence around it," and that the drain in the pool "did not have a proper cover." She also called into question the qualifications of Usher's Aunt, Rena Oden, pointing out that she was on disability and therefore unable to provide adequate care for her two "rambunctious" children.

But Raymond's main point of contention seemed to be that Usher does not inform her of what goes on in his house ... or who is watching their children at any given moment.

"I'm not in the know of what's going on with my kids. I don't know where my kids are, who they're with," Raymond said. "I can't even speak with my kids when they're with him."

During her testimony, the 911 call from the day of the near-drowning was played, and Raymond became extremely emotional, eventually leaving the stand in tears while repeating "This is ridiculous, this is ridiculous."

Usher then took the stand, and fielded several questions from Raymond's attorney, Angela Kinley, about his whereabouts on the day of the accident. After responding that he was at a nearby recording studio, Usher was then asked why it took him nearly an hour to call his ex-wife following the incident — earlier, Raymond had asserted that he had tried to downplay the severity of Usher V's injuries — a fact he said had nothing to do with any acrimony between the couple.

"The first thing to do was to respond to the emergency. I went straight home, when I arrived, my son was hysterical and in the back of an ambulance, so got in the back of the ambulance, he was hysterical, did my best to calm him down," Usher said. "I was just reacting, I was in father mode. ... I still didn't understand the severity of the incident. Once I did, I took a moment to call her."

Raymond's attorney continued to press Usher on his upcoming schedule — including a planned trip to Panama to film a movie later this year — at which point judge John Goger became agitated, pointing out that the purpose of an emergency hearing "means life or death ... the fact that your client does not receive daily communication from Mr. Raymond is not an emergency."

And ultimately, Raymond's failure to prove that her children were in a life or death situation lead the judge to dismiss her request for custody, though he did advise Usher that "in the future, you would be well advised to keep your former spouse informed about your whereabouts and who is taking care of your kids."

As court was adjourned, Usher shook hands with his lawyers, then had a brief discussion with Raymond. The two then embraced. Meanwhile, their son remains hospitalized following the pool accident.