Kevin Federline agrees with Britney Spears about one thing: One parent should have sole custody of their children, with the other getting visitation rights. It’s just who gets sole custody that he disagrees with; he wants it for himself.
In documents filed by his divorce attorney Wednesday (November 8) in Los Angeles, Federline makes it clear that he’s going to give the singer a fight. In his response, filed with the same court through which Spears filed for divorce (see “Britney Spears Files For Divorce — It’s Official” ), he checked a box that asks the court to grant him both legal and physical custody of 1-year-old Sean Preston and 2-month-old Jayden James, while allowing Spears visitation rights.(Check out this breakdown of the couple’s history together in our Britney & Kevin timeline.)
Federline’s also contesting how much money each of them ends up with. He checked a box asking the court not to award spousal support to Spears, because he wants it for himself. As for how their separate property should be divided, he noted that he’ll clear up his property and obligations in a schedule of assets and debts. Spears has petitioned for her property — including jewelry and earnings from and after the date of separation — to be considered separate from Federline’s. She also asked that each party pay their own attorney fees, whereas Federline is asking the court that she incur all the legal cost, most likely since she initiated the proceedings.
A New York divorce attorney who’s handled celebrity cases told MTV News that if Federline has to pay for his own attorney’s fees, it’s going to be that much harder for him to contest any of the terms, since the legal battle itself is likely to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lois Liberman of the firm Blank Rome, who worked on Donald Trump’s divorce from Marla Maples, also pointed out that unless Federline wins full or partial custody, he’ll likely have to pay child support as well.
“The next step is that they’ll have a sit-down with their attorneys or ask for a court conference,” Liberman said. “They’ll evaluate the house and other assets. And they’ll figure out what restrictions apply to the children. Can they travel with them? Is he entitled to overnight visitation? Will nannies have to be present? Is she still breastfeeding? With children so young, she’ll be considered the primary caretaker, and then he’ll have to pay a bare minimum of child support.”
Liberman also said it’s unusual for the courts to disturb a prenuptial agreement, unless the payout is so low as to be considered “unconscionable” or if there’s evidence of fraud. If the prenuptial agreement still provides a lump sum of $300,000 for Federline, any gifts that cost less than $10,000, and half the value of their Malibu mansion, as a leaked draft suggested, “That’s very generous,” Liberman said. “He hit the mother lode.”
Despite owning half the house, Federline will still have to leave it, most likely. “There’s usually what we call a ’vacator clause,’ ” she explained. “Usually between 30 to 90 days from the day of the ’trigger,’ which can be defined as an event of marital discord, the date of separation, or the filing of the divorce petition. And once triggered, that clause is enforceable.”
Neither Spears nor Federline had commented since Spears filed for divorce; their reps had no comment as well.
Federline is Spears’ second husband. Her first marriage — in a quick Las Vegas ceremony in January 2004 to childhood friend Jason Alexander — lasted 55 hours before being annulled (see “Britney On Her Marriage: Vegas Made Me Do It” ).