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Contentious divorce leads to jury trial

A couple going through a divorce will likely be forced to address many different issues. Some issues can be resolved amicably, others could lead to protracted, contentious court battles. For former NFL superstar Deion Sanders and his wife, their divorce has come down to one primary issue: child custody.

The couple has been sparing for months over the issue, and it appears that all attempts to negotiate a settlement have failed. As a result, a recent report has indicated that the case will go to a jury trial in an attempt to break the deadlock and resolve the child custody dispute.

When trying to reach a child custody agreement, divorcing spouses should remember to hold true to the same standard a court would use in deciding the issue: the best interests of the child. There are a variety of factors to consider when attempting to reach an agreement, such as the income of each parent, the ability of a parent to exercise visitation rights, each parent's relationship with the children and, if the children are old enough, the child's wishes. Most courts these days are moving toward the presumption that joint custody is the starting point to work from, with changes regarding legal custody and physical custody dependent on those very factors.

Sanders' jury trial got underway on March 4, and the jury will try to weigh the same factors after hearing testimony and viewing all of the evidence. Jury trials are somewhat rare in family courts, but when an issue simply cannot be agreed upon, a jury trial is the final option. In that type of situation, it is a good move to get the right information about your rights.

Source: dallasnews.com, "Jury selection starts today for custody trial in Deion, Pilar Sanders divorce case," Christina Rosales, March 4, 2013

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