A trial over the parental rights of a famous mother and father kept Deion and Pilar Sanders in a Texas courtroom for over a week. The estranged couple’s child custody dispute was settled after a majority of jurors agreed the former Dallas Cowboy should be the children’s primary custodian.
One juror disagreed with the final decision, but only 10 had to share the same opinion for a verdict. Sanders’ estranged wife felt the ruling was unfair. The children’s mother called the outcome “one-sided,” although she retained shared child custody of her daughter.
Deion Sanders told the court and reporters that he wanted to make certain his children did not become “casualties” of their parents’ war. The gloves have yet to be removed in the couple’s divorce proceedings. The next round of litigation will deal with the Sanders’ prenuptial agreement.
The custody battle grew bitter at times. Pilar claimed that she had been the children’s only caretaker while her husband was on the road for business. The woman’s lawyer told the jury that the ex-pro football and baseball player had less affection for his children than himself.
A judge will set the parents’ custody schedule even as the divorce moves into its next stage.
Jury trials are extreme solutions for couples who cannot resolve child custody problems. Parents can lose track of the impressions children take away from a contentious divorce.
Attorneys and family counselors suggest couples concentrate on the same priority that Texas family law judges do when negotiating custody — the welfare of the children. Deion Sander’s lawyer told the jury that it was “a shame” that the dispute had gone as far as it did.
Divorcing spouses often experience anger, hurt or a host of other volatile feelings. Spouses who allow emotions to override what children need engage in selfish, short-term thinking. Courts disapprove of this behavior because of the damage it may cause children.
Source: wfaa.com, “Jury decides custody of Deion Sanders’ children,” Marcus Moore and Jason Whitely, March 12, 2013