Another professional basketball player was in the news this week: Fox News reported that eight-time NBA All Star Steve Nash has settled his child custody dispute with his ex-wife, Alejandra Amarilla. Nash does not have ties to Illinois, but the battle over where his children would be raised was unusual enough to bring up here in Lake County.
The couple apparently settled their differences in late September. The court ordered the record sealed, though, so the terms of their settlement may never be known.
A quick aside: Most states do not automatically seal court records unless sensitive information is included, like, for example, the identity of a child in a criminal case. However, couples who do not want the details of their divorces or custody agreements shared can include confidentiality clauses in the documents and ask the court to seal the file. In Illinois, the party requesting that the record be sealed must persuade the court that the family's privacy outweighs the right of the public to court records.
Like many custody disputes, Nash's was about geography. Unlike most custody disputes, the tables were turned a bit here: Nash opposed his ex-wife's petition to move the children closer to his new home.
Nash is in his second season playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. During his marriage, he was playing in Phoenix; Amarilla got custody of their three children and has lived with them in Phoenix since the split. She told the court that she wanted to move to Los Angeles so that the children could be closer to their dad.
Nash responded that he didn't want his children growing up in Los Angeles. It was not, in his opinion, as good a place to raise a family as Phoenix. On top of that, he was planning to retire to Phoenix, and, he said, it would be unfair to uproot the children again.
Nash also accused Amarilla of wanting to relocate so that she could establish residence in a state with more liberal child support laws. She wasn't after proximity, he said, she was after more money.
The couple made their arguments at a hearing in June. They reached a settlement before the court handed down its decision.
If you are planning to relocate and need help with a custody or support agreement, you may want to talk to an experienced family law attorney.
Source: Huffington Post, "Steve Nash Settles Child Custody Dispute With Ex-Wife Alejandra Amarilla," Oct. 3, 2013USA Today, "Steve Nash fights to keep ex-wife from moving to Calif.," Craig Harris, May 30, 2013