Mel B and her ex-husband Stephen Belafonte divorced in 2017 after a long and bitter battle. They currently share joint custody of their 8-year-old daughter Madison. However, in court documents filed this week, Stephen asked for full legal and physical custody of their daughter, reported The Daily Mail.
The film producer allegedly claims that the Spice Girls star has “all but abandoned” their daughter and that he has been her sole caregiver for most of 2018 and through the majority of 2019.
In November, Mel also petitioned the court for permission to move back to the U.K. due to being unable to find sufficient work in the United States. The singer has affirmed that her decision to move back to Leeds and take Madison with her is not intended to keep the young girl away from her dad and that she promises to allow him “reasonable visitation” rights. Mel also pointed out that Madison traveled back and forth between the U.K. and L.A. during the Spice Girls comeback and that Stephen also frequently travels for work.
Mel worries that the producer will construe her petition to move back to the U.K. as a way to keep him from seeing his daughter. However, she believes that if Madison were to stay with her father in L.A., he wouldn’t foster a positive relationship and their daughter could turn on her.
“The only gift I want is to have my youngest daughter Madison with me in Leeds. I’m currently in the midst of a custody battle with her dad and it’s incredibly hard. But I’m hoping and praying I will get her home.”
If the 44-year-old film producer is granted full custody of the 8-year-old, he has stated that he will allow Mel visitation rights as long as the visits take place in Los Angeles and under court-appointed supervision.
Stephen’s court filing comes just over a month after the “Wannabe” hitmaker asked the court to grant her permission to take Madison to the U.K. with her for Christmas. Stephen also filed documents asking the court to allow him custody of Madison over Christmas.
In the documents, he claimed that Mel was hurting Madison and that she had also repeatedly asked their daughter for dirt on him, reported TMZ. Stephen claimed that after spending Thanksgiving with her mom, Madison reported back to her father that “her mother would make her sit in a dark room and repeatedly question her over and over and demand answers from her.”
The judge ultimately signed off on Stephen’s request to keep Madison in L.A. for the Christmas holidays.