Making The Complex

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Child custody woes for father of Serena and Venus Williams

For Louisiana tennis fans, few names are more recognizable than those of Serena and Venus Williams. The sisters have been a sensation in the world of tennis for many years, and serious fans know that their father, Richard Williams, is credited with helping them to reach their astounding potential. Richard Williams is currently facing what is shaping up to be a contentious child custody battle over his youngest child, who is a step-sibling to Serena and Venus.

In divorce paperwork, Richard Williams makes multiple claims about his wife, including that she abandoned both him and the child when the relationship faltered. He claims that she struggles with alcohol addiction, and that she has moved in with an individual who is facing felony criminal charges and could pose a risk to the child. He is asking the court to grant him custody, so that the child can continue to live in his home and attend the same preschool.

In response, Lakeisha Williams claims that her husband is fabricating these allegations in an effort to avoid having to pay child support or alimony. It is unclear whether the couple have a prenuptial agreement in place. However, if Williams has received assets from his daughters, there could be a significant base of wealth for the couple to argue over.

As this case moves ahead, additional details about the family could be made public. When high profile individuals are faced with divorce and child custody and are unable to settle the issue on their own, a great deal of private information becomes public record. For those in Louisiana who choose to follow the case, a glimpse into the lifestyle of this famous tennis Dad may soon be available.  

Source:, “Father of Venus, Serena Williams seeks divorce from second wife“, Eliot Kleinberg, June 15, 2017


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