One of the most difficult decisions that divorcing parents in Texas often have to face is child custody arrangements. Often, it can be difficult for a parent to be away from their child for even a short period of time. To make matters worse, sometimes the reason why a couple splits is because of differences that both spouses claim are so irreparable that no amount of reconciliation can fix. With this in mind, many spouses are reluctant to leave child custody in the hands of the other spouse.
This may be what is happening in the Texas divorce case between Sean Payton, the suspended head coach of the NFL Saints, and his wife. Just short of 20 years of marriage, Sean Payton filed for divorce, claiming a “conflict of personalities” had destroyed the marriage. In his original petition for divorce, he requested joint child custody.
However, his wife’s counter-petition sought sole custody and quite a bit more. She requested that she be able to determine the residence of the children, as well as making any decisions regarding their medical, legal and educational interests. Furthermore, she specifically requested that the court schedule Sean Payton’s access to the children in such a manner that their health and well-being are preserved.
Normally, Texas courts favor joint child custody when both parents are willing and able to assume an active parenting role in a child’s life. However, under certain circumstances, courts will allow for primary child custody to be given to one parent. In doing so, the parent requesting sole custody should expect to provide convincing evidence in support of that position. As the Paytons move to finalize their divorce, they will need to work with each other to realize what is in the best interests for their two children. If they are not able to do so, the court will step in and decide those issues for them.
Source: The Times-Picayune, “Saints coach Sean Payton, wife file for divorce,” Ryan Jones, July 2, 2012