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Attorney: Divorce judge could ban Gosselin kids from 'Jon & Kate'


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/25/2009 

Although the network has stated it has no plans to change the show's title, Jon and Kate Gosselin's upcoming divorce case judge could end up forcing TLC to drop the "Plus 8" from Jon & Kate Plus 8.

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Jon and Kate's eight children could legally be barred from appearing on the TLC reality series now that Kate now filed for a no-fault divorce, a Pennsylvania family law attorney told USA Today in a Thursday report.

"[The question for the court could be whether it's] in the best interest of these children to have their lives on TV as children of divorce -- is that way too much emotional baggage for any minor to have in their lives as children of divorced parents on TV?" attorney Mary Cushing Doherty asked USA Today.  "I think so."

Doherty works in Montgomery County, PA -- the same county in which Kate filed for divorce stating her marriage to Jon is "irretrievably broken" on Monday. 

"I'm really sad to think their custody might be part of what we're observing on day-to-day basis," Doherty told USA Today.

In addition, Doherty said even if Jon and Kate were to reach a private custody agreement, there's still a chance their kids -- 8-year-old twins and 5-year-old sextuplets -- would be legally disallowed from appearing on the show.

"The long arm of the law will reach in and say, 'I think these kids need a child advocate because people have not been looking out for their best interests,'" Doherty told USA Today.

Monday night's Jon & Kate Plus 8 broadcast featured Jon and Kate publicly announcing that they are separating and TLC subsequently announced that the show will air a retrospective of the couple's ten-year marriage on Monday, June 29 before going on hiatus for four weeks until it returns on August 3.

"During this time the family will take some time off to regroup, and then a modified schedule will be in place to support the family's transition," said the network in a Tuesday media statement.  "TLC continues to support the Gosselin family and will work closely with them to determine the best way to continue to tell their story as they navigate through this difficult time."

In addition to issues surrounding the custody of the kids, Doherty said splitting the estate is also tricky since both Jon and Kate have achieved celebrity status.

"What's fascinating about this case is that it's not a one-celebrity couple, where he's the celebrity and she's the dutiful spouse," she told USA Today, a sentiment that was shared by her fellow Montgomery County family law attorney, Harry Byrne.

"The interesting issue is who's more likely to be the celebrity going forward," he told USA Today. "Is she more likely going to have a steady stream of income, or is he? If someone were to say, 'We've got a TV deal with her for the next 10 years and we're not interested in him,' he's a better candidate to get worthy assets."

Byrne also noted it will be "interesting" to find out if Jon asks for financial help, as Kate did not request child support or alimony in her divorce filing.

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