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Wednesday, March 31, 2010
D-Wade asks court for custody of sons

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade has asked a court to grant him sole custody of his two young sons, adding to an already venomous and drawn-out divorce proceeding between the Miami Heat guard and his estranged wife.

In addition, Wade has asked that his wife be ordered to undergo a psychological examination.

Documents obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press show Wade alleges his wife Siohvaughn cannot "be considered a fit and proper person" to raise their children. In more than 300 pages of filings, the All-Star says his wife exhibited threatening behavior, had extramarital affairs, uses abusive parenting methods and is unwilling to let the 2006 NBA Finals MVP see his children.

The couple has two boys, ages 8 and 2.

"For more than two years, I have tried to make peace with Siohvaughn concerning our divorce and custody of our kids," Wade said in a statement released to The AP. "I no longer believe that's possible. Siohvaughn has consistently attempted to interrupt or prevent me from having visitation time with our boys."

Siohvaughn Wade's behavior "has made it evident that she is unstable, dishonest, unbalanced, unwilling to accept responsibility for her actions, not of good character, and therefore, unfit to be a custodial parent," according to the petition.

Siohvaughn Wade's attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The papers are scheduled to be introduced in court on Friday.

Dwyane Wade said the custody fight and desire to be around his sons could keep him from participating with the U.S. men's national team in this summer's world championships.

"Perhaps there'll be a scenario that would allow him to participate," said Wade's agent, Henry Thomas. "But this is something very important to him and it could prevent him from being able to participate. ... We don't know how long this particular matter is going to go on. We simply don't know."

The couple separated in August 2007. An often-nasty divorce battle has followed, with a trial now scheduled to begin June 7.

Wade is already suing his wife for defamation after she alleged last year that he gave her a sexually transmitted disease, a claim that was eventually withdrawn.

"They put us in a position and they put Dwyane in a position that he has no alternative," said attorney James Pritikin. "If he really wants to make sure that his children grow up in a healthy environment, he's got to be the custodial parent for these children. He's the only one that can give them emotional stability and place their safety and health above all else."

Dwyane Wade is involved with a number of legal fights outside of the divorce and custody battle.

Earlier this week, a federal judge dismissed a $90 million lawsuit claiming that Wade violated antitrust laws in a failed restaurant venture. Wade still faces a breach of contract lawsuit stemming from the restaurant venture, plus is suing a former business partner for defamation.

It has not seemed to adversely affect his play.

Wade won last season's NBA scoring title, and ranks among league leaders this season in points, assists and steals.

"Dwyane has always been able to do a great job of compartmentalizing his life," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The basketball court has been his sanctuary, where he's able to concentrate and focus on just the game. Every thing else in his life, amazingly, doesn't get in the way or clutter his mind or his focus."

High school sweethearts whose romance continued to college at Marquette and ultimately to marriage, Dwyane and Siohvaughn Wade have not gotten along in years.

In January 2009, Siohvaughn Wade claimed, among other things, that her husband abandoned his children, that they were frightened to be around him, that he was "guilty of extreme and repeated mental cruelty" toward his wife.

Dwyane Wade has denied each charge.

"I'm sorry to say that many of the things she has done during our marriage and throughout this divorce have convinced me that it is not in our children's best interest that she have custody," Wade said in his statement to The AP. "As a result, I have decided to fight for custody of our children."

The documents obtained by The AP include police reports from when Siohvaughn Wade called authorities to the couple's home in a Miami suburb on Christmas Eve 2008 as Dwyane Wade arrived there to see his children.

They also include claims made by Andrea Williams, a former friend of the couple, that Siohvaughn Wade paid for trips to Las Vegas and other places, bought a man she was romantically involved with as far back as 2004 a car and a motorcycle, threatened to find a gun and shoot her husband, and voluntarily entered an Illinois hospital to deal with anger-related issues.

"I feel our children's health and safety are at stake," Dwyane Wade said. "Our two children are my top priority."