Monday, July 2, 2012

Divorce - NFL Style

The New Orleans Saints have been in the news a lot this offseason.   Not always for good reasons. Now they got another headline they probably didn't need.    Head Coach Sean Payton has filed for divorce.   The usual reasons of "irreconciliable difference" is cited.

Although he coaches in New Orleans, the filings are in Tarrant County, Texas.   This is due to a quirk of coaching in the NFL.    Coaching jobs can be short in duration.    Better to have one home for the kids while dad heads out to work.    Makes for not seeing a lot of dad during the season, but at least the kids aren't uprooted every few years.  

Mrs. Payton has counterfiled for residential and legal custody of the kids.   That means she wants the kids to remain in Tarrant County.    Legal custody means she wants to make the decisions about the kids' upbringing.    Joint legal might be preferred (at least in Maryland) but sometimes it doesn't work.    I can see a judge looking at the work hours of an NFL head coach and just saying, "Decisions about the kids need to be made in a timely fashion, Dad can't do that most months of the year, Mom gets to make decisions."   This does not mean Dad is cut out.   Dad still has a right to know what is going on with his children.   Period.   No hiding information just because Mom is the decision-maker.

At least with Payton's year long suspension from coaching, he will have time to devote to this case. On the other hand, it is a suspension without pay.    That could make calculating child support interesting.    If Dad technically has no income (I forget what Payton is doing this year to keep busy since he can't even attend the Saints games), how can he support the kids?   On the other hand, he is expected to work in order to be able to support the kids.    Since the Saints have said Payton is coming back as HC next year, a smart lawyer would ask the judge to calculate the child support on his contractual income.   Let Payton's lawyer argue against it.