Deion Sanders will have the sole right to determine where his three children live, a Collin County jury decided in a trial to settle custody issues in the former Dallas Cowboy’s contentious divorce. Christina Rosales reports for The Dallas Morning News.
The athlete and TV personality will make all educational, health and extracurricular decisions for his two sons, ages 11 and 13, and share that responsibility for his 9-year-old daughter with his estranged wife, Pilar Sanders.
“I’m thankful; I’m elated,” the father said before leaving the courthouse in McKinney, Texas. “In any war, there will be casualties, but I didn’t want the casualties in this case to be my kids.”
More than an hour after the verdict, Pilar Sanders told reporters she was “flabbergasted” at the result of the trial but not surprised. Her attorney Larry Friedman said they will appeal the decision.
The aspiring actress and model said the judge did not allow testimony about the April 2012 domestic dispute that landed her in the Collin County Jail.
This is the latest issue to play out in court during the couple’s messy divorce, which was first filed by the NFL Hall of Famer in 2011 and came to a head last April when police were called to the Prosper mansion they once shared. Pilar Sanders was initially arrested, and both parents faced misdemeanor assault charges that a judge ultimately threw out.
During a week of testimony in the custody trial, the jury of seven women and five men heard testimony about both parents’ involvement in the lives of their children, as well as the constant pressure the children were under with two feuding parents whose lives were once the subject of a reality show.
Rick Robertson, Deion Sanders’ attorney, called the mother a “vindictive woman” whom Deion Sanders cannot trust.
Both sides traded arguments, the spouses claiming that both love themselves more than they love their children.
Jurors deliberated for less than two hours before naming Deion Sanders the sole managing conservator for the sons, Shilo and Shedeur Sanders, and joint managing conservator for Shelomi. Before that, both parents agreed that neither would move away from North Texas.
The decision of the jurors does not determine the possession schedule of the children or child support. Nor did it settle the delinquent payments to Pilar Sanders’ legal team and the attorney representing the children’s best interests.
Attorneys for both sides were able to meet with jurors in private after the trial.
Robertson told reporters afterward that many jurors said they did not believe allegations of abuse that Pilar Sanders testified about, including an incident during which she said her estranged husband choked her on the set of a reality show filmed at the Prosper mansion.
“They said those were cheap shots,” Robertson said.
Pilar Sanders also accused the retired football player of using steroids and trying to smear the name of his estranged wife, using his Twitter account with hundreds of thousands of followers to disparage her. He denied all those allegations.
“We don’t sling mud,” Deion Sanders said, standing by his attorney in the lobby of the courthouse. “We were very ethical.”
If you are a parent facing issues of child timesharing (custody), please contact the Men’s Divorce Law Firm today to speak with a caring professional regarding your case. Managing Attorney Jeffrey Feulner believes that every member of the family benefits from shared parental responsibility and timesharing (custody)–especially the children. So call today: 407.896.2677.