A Los Angeles judge denied Cher’s request for a temporary conservatorship over her son Elijah Blue Allman Monday after Cher appeared by video at a morning hearing and her lawyer gave new details about what drove the superstar singer to seek control of her adult son’s finances.
Cher’s lawyer, Gabrielle Vidal, told the court that beyond Elijah’s admitted battles with addiction, “there is a secondary issue in that he suffers from schizoaffective disorder that leads to periods of psychosis.” Vidal said Elijah has been placed on involuntary hospital holds “multiple times over the past calendar year,” including last September. The lawyer said Elijah is no longer in the care of the medical doctors who were treating him for his alleged psychiatric issues, and Cher is terrified that “his life is at risk.” She said Cher is worried he’s too vulnerable to receive an upcoming trust payment from the estate of his late father, the musician Gregg Allman.
“We feel an urgency persists because he’s surrounded by people who deny the mental illness component, and the concern is that if he gets this distribution into his hands, and during a period of stress, that that will lead to the drug use. This proceeding was filed because Cher was told unequivocally by the doctors treating him, that if she did not take this step as his mother, the concern was that he would once again end up on the street,” Vidal said.
Elijah, 47, appeared in court in person Monday but did not speak. Judge Jessica Uzcategui said she believes Cher’s concerns are sincere, but she did not see enough evidence that Elijah currently lacks capacity to manage his own affairs. A follow-up hearing on a possible permanent conservatorship is set for March 6. Cher first sought conservatorship control over Elijah in a Dec. 27 petition that cited the alleged “ongoing mental health and substance abuse issues.”
“I don’t question the motivation behind Cher’s request as having been driven by concern for her son,” Judge Uzcategui said. “And I understand the perhaps overlapping issues with respect to substance abuse and mental health that have affected the proposed conservatee in the past. I don’t think he questions that either. I see a lot of acknowledgment of that in some of the paperwork.” But concerns are not “sufficient evidence,” she said.
Monday’s decision came three weeks after the same judge denied Cher’s attempt to gain an emergency conservatorship over Elijah without having to first provide him with certain filings related to her petition. Elijah appeared at that hearing as well alongside his formerly estranged wife. On Monday, he was again accompanied by his wife, as well as his licensed therapist.
In a new filing last week, Elijah said he had tested negative for drugs and alcohol in a series of voluntary tests over the last month and had rented a new residence in Westwood with wife Marieangela King amid their reconciliation. He told the court he also was in the process of hiring a business manager. “In the two weeks since the initial hearing, I have been successfully managing my income and expenses and have refrained from the use of illicit substances that have historically caused the incidents that have given rise to my mother’s concern,” he wrote.
“I am doing well and do not need the help that my mother is offering,” he said. “There was no emergency giving rise to a conservatorship at the last hearing, and there is certainly none now.”
In her original petition, Cher said she only wished to protect her son. “Petitioner loves Elijah immensely and has always acted with his best interests in mind,” her Dec. 27 filing said. According to the paperwork, Elijah receives regular distributions from the trust established by his father. Cher estimated he receives $120,000 a year. “Given his ongoing mental health and substance abuse issues, Petitioner is concerned that any funds distributed to Elijah will immediately be spent on drugs, leaving Elijah with no assets to provide for himself, and putting Elijah’s life at risk,” her filing said.
But his lawyer, Steven Brumer, told reporters after Monday’s hearing that “Elijah is thrilled that the court saw he does not need a temporary conservatorship.” “He’s grateful to his fans, friends, and other members of the recovering community for their support,” He’s doing great.”
Judge Uzcategui recommended the parties try mediation ahead of the March hearing. Brumer said his side was willing. “We are open to mediation,” he told Rolling Stone. “That’s always a good avenue to explore.”
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