We’ve talked about it before, videotaping your spouse for the sake of your divorce case. It has its pros and cons. Clear footage of abusive behavior or adultery could affect child custody and property division decisions.
The famous “Pregnant Man,” Thomas Beatie, filed for divorce back in February and apparently took videotape footage of his allegedly abusive, alcoholic wife some time before then, reports TMZ.
The footage is a little disturbing. It appears to show the children are climbing on their passed out mother, Nancy, until she grabs one in a headlock and carries her into the next room. Nancy then throws a pillow at Thomas and then goes nuts on the couple's laptop. She appears to be visibly intoxicated throughout the footage.
The video should have an effect on the couple's custody and child support arrangements, which are expected to be hashed out on Wednesday. One would imagine that evidence of abusive behavior and substance abuse will impact the judge's decision on custody, unless Nancy is able to convince the judge that it was merely an isolated incident or that there was some illegality or irregularity with the tape.
However, one does wonder if Thomas' methods might backfire. The video shows some pretty disturbing behavior, and instead of stopping Nancy from acting out against her children, or protecting his children from seeing their mother rage on a laptop, he videotapes the incident and cries. So does the couple's daughter. That will probably be at least part of what Nancy's lawyer argues.
Custody decisions are ruled by the "best interests of the child" standard, which is inherently subjective. The judge must weigh the two parties' history, households, and ability to care for their children, in addition to other factors, in deciding where the children will live and whether the other parent gets visitation rights.
- Find a Houston Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- First Pregnant Man Thomas Beatie Divorce From Wife (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)
- Child Custody in Texas (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Child Custody: Summaries of State Laws (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)