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Deion Sanders, ex-wife given unusual child custody order

It seems that Texas residents who have been following the divorce saga of Deion Sanders and his ex-wife, Pilar, haven't run out of fodder just yet. The court proceedings between the NFL star and his wife are set to continue at least until March, when a judge will make a final determination on the perpetually warring ex-couple's child custody arrangement.

The March 8 custody trial date could be the beginning of the end of the Sanders' drawn-out family law battle, wrapping up several months of physical, verbal and legal fighting. In the meantime, they have new orders to follow from a judge. The orders concern who has the power to make specific decisions about their two sons and daughter.

The Jan. 16 decision by the judge says that Deion and Pilar must temporarily split custody of the children evenly between them by trading off parenting duties in alternating weeks at a time (Deion will have all three children one week, then hand them off to Pilar for the next week). Previously, Deion had custody of the two boys while Pilar cared for their daughter.

But the judge also ruled that at least temporarily, Deion has the exclusive right to make decisions on the children's education, their athletic activities and their primary residence. All other decisions about the children should be made jointly, the Collin County judge said. It will be interesting to see whether this very specific order will stand after the child custody trial.

Other Texas parents might be able to identify with the extreme conflict the Sanderses have been going through. As much as everyone wants a quick and painless divorce, spouses who argued in their marriage are usually no better able to agree when the marriage ends. Many times an order custom designed to suit each parent's strengths can make decisions about the children easier. Having an attorney who knows your strengths and your family's particular needs can also make those decisions go more smoothly, allowing you to settle your divorce much faster than Deion and Pilar Sanders have been able to do.

Source: NBCDFW, "Judge: Deion to Make Educational, Residential, Athletic Decisions for Children," Frank Heinz, Jan. 16, 2013

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