Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"But it's my own child!"

Friends, I understand that things don't work out sometimes in relationships. You married him or her, you had a kid, and bam-- it hits you-- this isn't the one you want to spend the rest of your life with.

So you get a divorce. No big deal. There's no social stigma anymore. Everyone does it, right? The kids live half their lives under someone else's care anyway. What's the problem with only seeing them on the weekends? Or on holidays. Or whatever.

But then you decide that, for whatever reason, you want more control over the kids' lives than you believe you have. You start taking advantage of more of your opportunities to spend time with the kids. Maybe it's because you really love the kids, and miss seeing them every day. Or maybe it's just to show that bitch of an ex who's really in charge, here. You have your rights as a parent, and you'll be damned if you're not going to exercise 'em.

So you begin to invoke your right to take the kids to their doctors' appointments. To attend their school events. To take them to special church events, when you heretofore cared nothing about church. Or whatever. Involved parent? Or lashing out to attempt to regain some control?

Then, one day, you step over the line.

You go by the school, or the daycare, or where-ever, and try to pick up your kid on a time other than the scheduled time. The person charged with the care of your kid waivers. She's been told to watch out for something like this. . . . Something about sticking to the court-ordered schedule. She picks up the phone to call your ex spouse, and learns that you've not coordinated this pickup. That you're trying to take the child at a time other than your regularly-scheduled time.

The cops get called. And this is where I get involved. I don't want to get involved with your admittedly petty custody disputes. But I've been called, and here I am. The spouse says he or she knows nothing about your attempt to pick up your kid. The court order explicitly says that you have no right to do so. The caregiver makes clear that you got pretty adamant that you were by-Gawd going to take your kid and leave. Pushy, in fact.

So what am I, the cop going to do? Here's a court order, signed by a District Judge, ordering you to abide by the terms that you've signed (yep. There's your signature, right there.) off on.

In Texas, Kidnapping means to take physical control of a person that you didn't have a lawful right to take control over.

Do you see where this is going?

Don't put me in that position. Please.

If you don't like the terms to your custody agreement, then try to get them changed. Don't just violate them to show your ex. Because you might just lose that little show, and lose big.

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At Thursday, September 03, 2009 2:43:00 AM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Excellent post Matt- Too many people lose sight of the "big" picture when trying to get the point across... usually it's the wrong point anyway, but they are risking more than they know. With the rise in kidnapping of children (even by the estranged parent), LEOs are becoming more and more involved. It's a tense situation, to put it mildly, but you have no choice but to enforce the decrees.

At Thursday, September 03, 2009 7:55:00 AM, Anonymous Matt M said...

Few things are as emotional as the Ex, the Kids, and control. I can get scary, and is never good for the kids.

At Thursday, September 03, 2009 10:42:00 AM, Blogger Kristopher said...

John Ross ( the authoer of Unintended Consequences ), in one of his Ask the Assassin columns, had an interesting rant on the subject ...

Don't make an enemy of your Ex. She will, in most states, be able to take the kids, and keep you from seeing them ever again, simply by playing the system in most states.

Going to war with her is a game you will lose, and you will hurt the kids in the process.

At Thursday, September 03, 2009 4:59:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Understood Matt, but I don't know that there is abetter way to handle it. Wish there was though...

At Monday, September 07, 2009 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Dedicated_Dad said...

As a Dad who has been there - more sick manipulations than I can detail, which finally (FINALLY!) led to me being awarded sole legal custody of the girls - I can tell you that most police won't do the right thing.

Do you have ANY idea how many times she violated The Court's orders with impunity?

Any idea how many times Officers told me "take it up with Family Court on Monday."?

WTF is the point in having a court-order in hand if it will not be enforced?

I **DO** understand the Officers' position - they have no way to know if the document I have in hand has been superseded by a newer one - but that never seemed to apply when MOM (the one who was sickly manipulating everyone, including the kids) was waving it around...

Kristopher is 100% right, and unfortunately you guys get caught in the middle... It's even worse for the kids.

These women should be imprisoned - it's CHILD ABUSE, pure and simple...


At Monday, September 07, 2009 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

In my most recent circumstance, we were able to obtain a current copy of the court decision within minutes, and it had been in effect for a year. Rarely do they come that cut-and-dried.

But my point really is: if you know that you're violating the court order, and are taking the kids when you don't have rights to them, then you're committing a crime.

Now, just because she didn't get the kids there on time, or didn't show up at your meeting place, etc., that's not going to amount to a criminal act. That's a civil violation of your civil order, and might at best result in contempt of court charges.

We don't take criminal action to enforce the civil orders. But when a person takes a child that they're not legally entitled to have control of, in the middle of the day, then we get involved. Bad things can (and do) happen if we don't, in those situations. My mind drifts to an occasion where I sat over a motel door with a rifle from 80 yds, waiting for a kidnapper to come out, as he was absconding to Mexico from Kansas.


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