What does a judge do when there is no good choice?
The Michael and Rachel Brown divorce case has made Houston's headlines for the last few years, and shows no signs of stopping. We just covered a spat between the lawyers on each side involving crude language and sexual harassment allegations.
And yes, and the actual divorce case is still pending. Earlier this week, there was a hearing to determine custody rights. If the testimony of the two parties is to be believed, neither option seems particularly appealing, reports CultureMap Houston.
Mr. Brown has previously faced domestic violence charges, though he was acquitted. CultureMap reports that he also takes a debated amount of pain killers on a daily basis. His wife says 20-50 oxycodon pills. He says two a day for back pain.
His soon to be ex-wife also says that he frequents the ladies of the night. That's not a Laura Branigan reference either. He admitted on the stand to "paying for companionship," and even having three paid women at a time. However, he would never expose his children to such things.
For her part, she's dating Jeff Bagwell, who is also divorcing his wife, according to CultureMap. Bagwell reportedly has an alcohol problem and dropped out of rehab last year. Mr. Brown's attorney elicited testimony from Mrs. Brown that she took the kids on trips with Bagwell, including to places where alcohol was consumed.
Mrs. Brown also admitted on the stand to using powdered and crystallized crack cocaine after her kids were born, though she swears that it was done with Mr. Brown and that she hasn't used since 2009.
If child custody is a multiple choice exam, is there a (c) none of thee above?
Child custody decisions are made according to the "best interests of the children" standard, which here seems like a draw so far. Obviously, some of the above is accusations without proof, yet both parties have admitted under oath to conduct that may make the judge question their parenting ability.
Foster care is often a last resort, and here, it probably would not be preferable to placing the kids with their parents. What may happen, however, is either drug testing of one or both of the parents, or evaluation of the households by child protective services to ensure that the homes are safe and stable.
- Find a Houston Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Domestic Violence (FindLaw's Houston Family Law News)
- Manhattan Woman Sues Michael Brown for Giving Her Herpes (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Rachel Brown testifies she and Jeff Bagwell attending Hawaii wedding (Houston Chronicle)