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A wrong way to handle things: Child custody swap ends in arrests

There's a right way and a wrong way to handle things when you have to meet up with someone to make a routine custody exchange.

Two women decidedly picked the wrong way to handle the exchange of a 4-year-old child. The intent behind the exchange was allowing the child to have some time with his or her other parent.

While the details are a little vague, the woman who brought the child with her to the exchange seems to be the child's mother. She apparently felt that the other woman shouldn't be participating in the pickup. The mother physically and verbally attacked the other woman, who was seated in a car. Since the other woman (who is presumably a romantic rival) chose to press charges, the police arrested the mother.

As the officer arrived at the police parking lot with the child's mother under arrest, he witnessed the other woman in the process of physically assaulting the only man involved in the situation, presumably the child's father.

The officer ended up arresting the second woman as well for a domestic battery on her boyfriend. While the child was presumably given to his or her father, police did report the incidents to the Department of Children and Family Services as potential child endangerment.

Here's a lesson to take from the above situation and a way around the whole thing:

  • Do not involve your current romantic partner, especially if there are sore feelings still involved, in the custody exchange for your children. Handle it yourself or rely on direct family members if you can not.
  • Consider making all exchanges either in front of the police station or inside the lobby. Courts have begun to welcome that sort of interaction rather than risk violence and arrests.
  • Get a written order that specifically spells out who can make the custody exchanges. Then there will be no surprises.

The big takeaway is that you don't want a simple custody exchange to escalate into a series of arrests, putting one or more parents in jail, upending relationships and constantly exposing the child or children involved to violence.

For help forming an agreement everyone can live with, contact an attorney with experience in child custody exchanges today.

Source: Patch.com, "Two Women Arrested For Battery After Child Custody Exchange: Cops," Andrea Earnest, accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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