"Paula very much wanted to keep this within the family," a source tells PEOPLE of the fight over their son

By Jeff Nelson
January 27, 2017 06:45 PM
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Paula Patton did not plan on engaging in the public spectacle her squabble with Robin Thicke over custody of 6-year-old son Julian has devolved into, an insider says.

“Paula very much wanted to keep this within the family, as she believes that was in Julian’s best interest,” a source close to the situation tells PEOPLE of the actress, who separated from Thicke in 2014 before finalizing their divorce in 2015. “However, she has to fight back to protect her son. As a mother, it’s one thing to stay quiet if you’re the victim of abuse, but once that extends to your child, you have to speak up.”

A rep for Thicke declined to comment.

On Thursday, a judge granted Patton temporary sole custody over Julian, as well as a temporary restraining order against Thicke that requires the singer to remain at least 100 yards away from his ex, their son, and the actress’ mother, Joyce Patton. The judgement came after Patton, 41, filed court documents alleging Thicke, 39, physically and verbally abused her, cheated on her throughout their marriage and has a drug and alcohol problem.

Thicke’s attorney, Angela Pierce di Donato responded to the allegations, telling PEOPLE in a statement: “Paula never reported any domestic violence until she was in a position of contempt by violating the custody orders … Infidelity has nothing to do with custody. She is attempting to throw anything at him to hurt him, but Robin’s focus is their son.”

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Patton and Thicke’s custody dispute came to light earlier this month. On Jan. 12, the actress filed court papers in L.A., saying she had “become concerned about [Thicke]’s drinking and drug use, as well as the forms of punishment he is using to discipline Julian,” citing spankings she alleges left the boy “scared.”

The L.A. Department of Children and Family Services is investigating the claims. At the time, the “Blurred Lines” singer denied the abuse, maintaining he has employed “light spanking” as a “last resort” but that it was agreed upon in their marriage and that he “never exceeded age-appropriate discipline.”

On Thursday, a judge gave Patton sole legal and physical custody of Julian until the next hearing scheduled for Feb. 24, with supervised visitation for Thicke three days a week at a neutral location.