Britney Spears and Kevin Federline held a wedding ceremony on September 18, 2004, and were legally married on October 6, 2004. The couple separated in late 2006 and were divorced in early 2008. They were married barely two years but have two children as a result of their marriage. The couple had a marriage contract (pre-nuptial agreement). If they had been divorced in Ontario, the following represents how there case may have been decided.
Marriage Contract (Pre-nuptial Agreement)
The couples shared a valid marriage contract. Such a contract in Ontario may define the terms of ownership and division of marital property, spousal support and certain choices with respect to marital children. However, marriage contracts CANNOT define the terms of child custody, child access or child support. These decisions are always made in the best interest of the child. This means that all significant decisions regarding the children would be open to negotiation or a court decision.
Custody and Access
Both Spears and Federline have careers. However, Spears has been far more successful and thus has a more rigorous work schedule. This will not necessarily decide custody. The court must look at the children’s best interest. In this case the court may decide that because of the couple’s fighting and apparent inability to work together that a joint custody arrangement would not be manageable. This leaves the court having to decide which parent should have sole custody. In making the order the court would only consider the best interest of the children by reference to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the children. For example, the court may consider that the children need stability in their lives and for this reason grant Federline sole custody as he has a less active schedule and is better able to provide a consistent environment. Additionally, he appears to be more stable and prepared to care for the children.
In making its decision the court would NOT take into consideration the past conduct of the parents unless the conduct is relevant to the ability of that person to act as a parent of the children. Therefore, any past lifestyle choices by Spears, such as using drugs and alcohol, are not relevant. What may be relevant is if Spears is currently using drugs or alcohol and is doing so in the presence of the children or is in any way endangering the children. If Spears is found by the court to have such issues, this does not mean that she will not have access to her children. But her access may have to be supervised until she can prove her ability to behave around the children. Supervised access means that another adult must be present when that parent and the child are together. It is likely that such an order would be made given Spears current lifestyle.
Spears would have to pay Federline child support which may be the full table amount or a reduced amount due to her unusually high income.