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Custody becomes central issue in high profile Dallas divorce

Going through a divorce can be a tough and stressful time for all parties involved. But as any Dallas child custody attorney knows, when there are children involved, the stakes become higher, and children may be the ones who feel the stress the most.

As mentioned on this blog previously, the divorce of former Dallas Cowboys player Deion Sanders is on-going, and one of the contentious issues in the case is the children. In October, Deion had sought modification of his child support payments. Now, this issue is custody-both parents have filed for full custody of the children.

Recently, a hearing to determine temporary custody of the children was held; trial for the divorce is set for March. The hearing focused on the well-being of the three children, who are reported to be feeling frustrated, anxious and stressed because of the divorce.

In a divorce, child custody and visitation are generally decided either by agreement between the divorcing couple, or by the court. Formerly, many states including Texas automatically granted custody of the children to the mother. However, that is no longer the case, and custody can become an important issue.

When the court gets involved, the judge makes the decision based on the best interests of the children as to both legal custody and physical custody. While the standard for the child's best interest varies by state, common considerations include the preferences of the children, the need for a stable home environment, relationship and interaction with other members of the household and the health of the parents. If there is any evidence of abuse by a parent, that is also taken into consideration.

Source: DallasNews.com, "Deion and Pilar Sanders divorce hearing focuses on kids' well being," Valerie Wigglesworth, Jan. 9, 2013

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