According to a petition filed in Tarrant County, Texas on June 14th, Saints head coach Sean Payton is seeking a divorce from his wife, Beth. Their 20-year anniversary was to be July 11th.
The divorce comes at a time when Payton is serving a one-year suspension for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal. According to an NFL investigation, the Saints ran a pay-per-play system in their locker room that rewarded the defense for injuring opposing players.
The petition listed the grounds for the divorce as “discord or conflict of personalities between Petitioner and Respondent that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
Payton is seeking to divide the couple’s assets and provide joint custody of their two children.
Beth Payton filed a counter-petition on June 26th, according to ESPN Dallas:
[The petition requested] that she receive primary custody of the children and exclusive rights to make other decisions, such as those concerning their medical care and education, on their behalf. It also asks that the coach pay child support and pay for the children’s medical care.
According to The Times-Picayune, the proceedings were meant to be kept private — the petitions describe two residents of Tarrant County with the initials of Payton (PSP) and his wife (BAP), “the date that the Paytons were married, and the birth dates of the couple’s two children.” Those attempts at privacy were seemingly undermined, however, when someone labeled the computer file containing the petitions as “Payton.” Yeesh.
Based on the petitions, it appears as if Payton has already moved out of the couple’s home in the exclusive Fort Worth suburb of Westlake. The family made the somewhat controversial move to Texas in 2011, after Payton had spent his first five seasons as head coach living in New Orleans (Saints fans worried that it would affect his involvement in the community, an obviously important initiative in the years following Hurricane Katrina). Payton maintained that he had planned to move to Westlake for years, and wanted to enroll his daughter in an exclusive private school there.