A Los Angeles judge awarded Lisa Marie Presley and her fourth husband joint legal and physical custody of their 12-year-old twin daughters and ordered Elvis Presley’s only child to undergo random monthly drug tests for a year from the first such test, court papers obtained Thursday show.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman also found that the girls’ safety is not jeopardized when they are with their father, 59-year-old guitarist-producer Michael Lockwood. Presley had reported in 2017 that the girls were placed in protective custody after she discovered inappropriate photos of children on Lockwood’s computer.
“The court finds that the children are not at risk of harm with their father,” the judge wrote in a lengthy ruling dated Dec. 8.
However, Gould-Saltman also said that both the 52-year-old Presley and Lockwood can be better parents by putting aside some of their animosity.
“The court finds that the conflict between the parties and their communication difficulties have had a detrimental (effect on) the children’s best interests,” the judge wrote.
According to media reports on a pretrial filing that was later sealed, Lockwood said he was so concerned that Presley will relapse into substance abuse after the July 12 suicide of 27-year-old Benjamin Keough — her son from her first marriage to musician Danny Keough — that he wanted primary custody of their daughters, Harper Vivienne Ann and Finley Aaron Love.
The judge addressed Presley’s drug problems in her ruling.
“(Presley), during the relevant times, was so abusing drugs that her ability to interpret and recall events accurately was distorted and untrustworthy,” the judge wrote. “It is to her credit that she has since overcome her addiction and continues to take steps to ensure her sobriety.”
Gould-Saltman said she “does not have concern that (Presley) is currently abusing drugs.”
The judge wrote that Presley testified she started using a painkiller after having a C-section when her twins were born in October 2008 and later became addicted to ocycodone, admitting to taking as many as 80 pills daily.
“(Presley) started using cocaine in an attempt to reduce her use of opiates and help her think more clearly,” the judge wrote.
In his testimony, Lockwood expressed concern that Presley was still not sober, based in part on photos of her he had seen in 2017 and 2018, later than the time Presley claims to have come clean, the judge wrote.
“He testified that (Presley’s) drug issue began just after the twins were born and got a lot worse over time and by 2013 was out of control,” according to Gould-Saltman.
Lockwood said many of the photos deemed inappropriate by Presley were taken with her present and that she herself was in some of them.
The hearing took place between August and November, with several interruptions before the judge took the case under submission. The hearing was conducted in closed session because the girls are minors, but the judge’s ruling was attached to a public document in which Lockwood is seeking attorneys’ fees from Presley.
Presley’s daughter Riley Keough testified in August that the family, including her mother, was seeking grief counseling three times a week to cope with her brother Benjamin’s death, according to the judge. Keough described her mother’s addition period as “short” and said “she was our rock” when she described how Presley raised her, according to the judge.
Presley filed for divorce in June 2016, 10 years after she and Lockwood married. The divorce is not yet finalized.
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