From left: Jason Hoppy, Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields
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August 16, 2018 03:15 PM

Bethenny Frankel‘s ex-husband has brought the death of her on-off boyfriend Dennis Shields into their contentious custody battle over 8-year-old daughter Bryn.

At a previously scheduled hearing Thursday, the Real Housewives of New York City star asked for primary custody and full decision-making power. Jason Hoppy, however, expressed his desire to keep the current joint custody arrangement the same.

After the judge set a date for a trial on Frankel’s request, Hoppy’s attorney Robert Wallack referenced reports that the New York banker died of an apparent overdose. (Shields was found dead in his Trump Tower apartment Friday at the age of 51. The toxicology report has not yet been released.)

“Our concern is while his death is very sad this raises serious concerns about Ms. Frankel’s parental judgment,” Wallack said, according to Page Six. “Dennis Shields spent a great deal of time with Bryn and even cared for Bryn at times when Ms. Frankel wasn’t around. Considering Mr. Shields’ addiction what does that say about Ms. Frankel’s parenting that she would allow this person to care for her daughter? This doesn’t just constitute a lapse in judgment this was just downright dangerous parenting.”

Page Six reports that Frankel teared up during the hearing, and that Hoppy’s lawyer requested that she be tested for drugs. The judge was reportedly “skeptical” of this argument given Hoppy had already expressed his desire to continue sharing custody. He said Hoppy was “throwing grenades” in the proceedings and set a March court date for Frankel’s requests.

Jason Hoppy and Bethenny Frankel
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Frankel and Hoppy, both 47, have been fighting over custody of Brynn for years. After a whirlwind romance, the Skinnygirl mogul learned she was pregnant, and they got married in a lavish televised wedding in 2010, welcoming their baby girl shortly after. Then, things turned ugly. They separated in December 2012, and their protracted divorce was finalized in July 2016, though they’ve been stuck in messy court proceedings; she accused him of stalking and harassing her just last year.

Though they met almost 30 years ago, Frankel and Shields began dating on and off in 2016.

Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields
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After losing him, Frankel is “devastated,”  friend told PEOPLE, explaining that she leaned on him throughout her seemingly never-ending divorce.

“She loved him. He was her family and Bryn’s family. Bryn loved him. Dennis was Bethenny’s partner, her family, her business partner and her best friend,” the friend said.

As PEOPLE exclusively reported, Shields even proposed to her in April.

“She would have loved to have married him, but there were some hurdles to overcome first,” the source said.

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