Pick a Side

The custody battle for Junior Lily Wray as a child has given Wray a different outlook on life and relationships

Copy By Veronica Terrell

A Special Bond: Six years after an intense custody battle, junior Lily Wray lives with her mom and said that the bond between them has grown strong throughout the years. “We are closer than we have ever been, and she’s my best friend. I’d be lost without her,” Wray said.

From the eyes of a classmate, Lily Wray is an ordinary student. The volleyball player and Chick-Fil-A obsessed junior at Hamilton Southeastern High School seems to be living a normal life, despite the fact that at nine years old, Wray’s parents split up, resulting in a custody battle between the two parents for her and her little brother.

However, divorce in America is normal.

Every 36 seconds, a married couple gets divorced. In fact, 50 percent of children in America will experience a divorce between their parents before they are 18.

“My parents got divorced when I was really young, and growing up was really hard. I had to constantly go back and forth from my mom’s to my dad’s. ” Wray said.

After a failed attempt to settle custody issues privately through a mediation hearing, Wray’s parents went to court in June 2011. Though both parents fought for Wray and her younger brother, Wray said she rooted for her mother.

“I definitely wanted to be with my mom, and I made sure the judge knew that because my dad wasn’t around, ever. There was a part of me that didn’t want to leave him, but in the end, I knew the best choice for me and my bro was to go with my mom.”

Though Wray’s mother won custody of her, she had to face the toughest part through the entire battle: losing her brother to her father.

“My brother now lives with my dad. It was hard watching my brother leave, and it was even harder to watch my mom go through that,” Wray said.

Despite the hardships faced as a child, Wray believes that her past experiences have made her into a more practical person, through understanding how to settle arguments and realizing that love takes time to find.

“The whole process really changed me as a person. It forced me to grow up and gave me a look into the real world,” Wray said. “My parents are now remarried and in good relationships. I think it just takes a rough patch to find your soul mate.”