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Colin Farrell Just Filed to Be a Co-Conservator of His 17-Year-Old Son

The actor's son, James, has a rare genetic disorder.

Colin Farrell just took a big step when it comes to supporting one of his children. As reported by E! News, Farrell has filed for co-conservatorship of his 17-year-old son James Farrell, who has Angelman syndrome. James' mother, model Kim Bordenave, has filed to be his other conservator.

E! News reports that the court documents state that Angelman syndrome "causes developmental delays and disabilities and affects the nervous system." A conservatorship would allow for Farrell and Bordenave to make decisions about James' life on his behalf. Read on to find out more about Farrell and his son, and what the conservatorship would mean for the family.

Farrell and Bordenave are requesting a limited conservatorship.

Kim Bordenave and Colin Farrell at the 2003 Academy Awards
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to court documents obtained by E! News, Farrell and Bordenave are seeking a limited conservatorship over their son because he "is nonverbal and has issues with his fine motor skills, making him unable to properly care for his own physical health and well-being and requiring him to need assistance in preparing food, eating, bathing, and clothing himself."

The conservatorship would allow the former couple to make medical and personal decisions for their son, including where he lives, whether he can get married, medical consent, and other similar important life choices. The court documents explain that while James can not share his own wishes on the matter, Farrell and Bordenave "are sure" that if he "could voice his opinion over who he would want" as his conservators, he would choose his parents. A court hearing on the conservatorship is set for Sept. 27.

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Angelman syndrome is a genetic disorder.

Colin Farrell in Moscow in 2012
Naumova Ekaterina /

James has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that is often first noticed when babies and young children have developmental delays. According to the Mayo Clinic, it causes "delayed development, problems with speech and balance, intellectual disability, and sometimes, seizures." Symptoms include being non-verbal or having minimal speech, difficulty walking, moving, or balancing, and frequent smiling and laughing, among others symptoms.

Farrell is an active advocate for those with Angelman syndrome.

Colin Farrell at the premiere of "Dumbo" in 2019
Tinseltown /

Farrell is involved with the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST), and has spoken at the organization's annual gala and summit. "I would humbly say to parents of a child with a recent diagnosis of any disorder that while they may well be experiencing the death of one dream, that dream of having a healthy child, there are a thousand dreams and milestones that are yet to reveal themselves," he told Today at the 2017 gala.

For Farrell, one of those milestones was seeing James take his first steps right before he turned four. "A child taking their first steps is always such a profound experience," he said at the 2020 summit, according to E! News. "When you're told your child might not walk and then your child does walk, two weeks short of his 4th birthday, the absence magnified the presence, when the presence arrived."

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Farrell sees James as an inspiration.

Alicja Bachleda-Curuś and Colin Farrell at the 2010 Golden Globe Awards
s_bukley /

Watching James achieve things that weren't thought possible has been inspiring for Farrell to see.

"Everything he's achieved in his life has come through the presence and the kind of will that is hard work. He's a lot to be inspired by," Farrell told People in 2014 when James was 10. "Things like walking and talking and eating and feeding himself, all those things that so many of us naturally take for granted because they come so easily, to James, they come somewhat harder … I remember the days when he couldn't watch 10 minutes of a film because he couldn't sit still, but now he can."

In addition to James, Farrell has another son, 11-year-old Henry Farrell, with Polish actor Alicja Bachleda-Curuś.

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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