Jesse Williams and Ex-Wife Aryn Drake-Lee Settle Child Custody Dispute

The exes will continue to share legal custody of their daughter Sadie, 8, and son Maceo, 6, and were recommended to attend co-parenting counseling

Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee
Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images

Jesse Williams and his ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee have settled their child custody dispute.

According to documents obtained by PEOPLE, the former couple — who finalized their divorce in October 2020, nearly three years after initially filing — will continue to share legal custody of their daughter Sadie, 8, and son Maceo, 6.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge denied Williams' request to modify his custodial schedule to a 2-2-5-5 plan while he stars in the Broadway production of Take Me Out, which officially opens on April 4. (The 50/50 custody schedule consists of a child spending two days with one parent and two days with the other, followed by five days with one parent and five days with the other.)

The documents noted that Williams' frequently changing work schedule has resulted "in a lot of juggling" for Drake-Lee, "who is the one mainly reorganizing her schedule" to adapt to the changes.

"Given [Williams] profession as an actor, it does not seem that this schedule is necessarily going to become more predictable in the future," the documents state. "Neither does it seem to be in the best interest of the children for their time with their father to be cut back dramatically as a result of his varying schedule so as to only visit him during predictable timeslots. This situation results in an understandably frustrating experience for both sides."

"It appears his schedule will remain unpredictable after the play is concluded in New York," the docs add of Williams, 40. "It may be appropriate in the future if the facts show that this schedule could be regularly exercised."

Aryn Drake-Lee; Jesse Williams
Aryn Drake-Lee and Jesse Williams. Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Though the exes will continue their shared legal custody of their kids, Drake-Lee, 40, was "granted tie-breaking authority" for "one extracurricular activity at a time for each of the children," which must not interfere with the father of two's "holiday, winter or spring break, summer holiday or the brief period of the upcoming play in New York."

Sanctions were also denied for the former couple, with the judge noting that "both parties have legitimate concerns and have not been able to reach agreements."

"Mother should appreciate that father cannot share with her certain schedules as far in advance as she would like, and that he may not always want his time with the children to be filled up with extracurriculars, and father should appreciate that mother is adapting her own schedule to meet his needs, and the children deserve to have extracurricular activities that they engage in on a regular basis, not just when mom is in charge," the documents state.

Additionally, the judge recommended that Williams and Drake-Lee 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." If they cannot agree on future matters, Williams and Drake-Lee can return to court.

Attorneys for Williams and Drake-Lee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Williams and Drake-Lee wed in September 2012 after more than five years together. The Grey's Anatomy actor filed for divorce in April 2017. Since then, the pair have weathered a series of court battles regarding custody of their children and Williams' child support.

In October 2020, Williams and Drake-Lee 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.

Most recently, 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.

Drake-Lee spoke to PEOPLE in May 2019 about the toll the fraught divorce and custody battle had taken on her family, including her children.

"When you start spinning, the children start spinning, so even if you're looking at them and you're telling them everything is fine, they know it's not fine because they can feel it's not fine," she said at the time.

"I talk to them on their level," Drake-Lee added. "It's also okay for the children to see me crying, to see that I'm having a hard day today. Because that lets them know that when they have those hard days, there's also room for that."

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