Last Modified: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 7:48 PM
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and his wife of nearly 20 years filed dueling divorce petitions in Texas.
Payton filed a petition on June 14 in Tarrant County district court seeking a divorce from Beth Payton. It lists the grounds as “discord or conflict of personalities” and seeks to divide the couple’s assets and provide for joint custody of their two children.
Beth Payton filed a counter petition on June 26 requesting that she receive primary custody of the children and exclusive rights to make other decisions, such as those concerning their medical care and education. It also asks that the coach pay child support and pay for the children’s medical care.
The divorce papers were filed in Texas because the couple moved to an exclusive neighborhood in the Fort Worth suburb of Westlake in 2011. Payton has said since his suspension that he hopes to spend as much time as possible with his children and even coach his son Connor’s football team.
It is not clear how the divorce may affect the coach’s plans, but the papers indicate that he has moved out of the couple’s primary residence.
The Paytons’ move from suburban New Orleans to Texas was initially met with angst by Saints fans who were concerned that the most successful coach in club history, who joined the Saints in 2006 and won a Super Bowl in his fourth season, was no longer as personally invested in the community as he had been during his first five years there.
However, the coach, who was an assistant in Dallas for three years before going to New Orleans, said he and his wife had long aspired to live in the neighborhood to which they moved, and to enroll their daughter Megan, 15, and Connor, 12, in an elite private school there.
Payton commuted regularly between Dallas and New Orleans during the 2011 season.