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Florida police enforce child custody order

Our Florida residents may have already read the media reports, and seen the footage of a Pensacola police officer enforcing a child custody order by interrupting a church service. Though the manner in which the issue was handled created an uproar on social media, it is important to not lose sight of the fact of child custody disputes between parties are emotional issues and can get complex very quickly.

In this particular case, reports indicate that the grandparents of the 13-year-old girl involved in the custody dispute were to return her to her father, but the grandparents failed to do so. According to reports, attempts made at the home of the grandparents to execute the child custody order were unsuccessful. The father of the girl was able to locate the girl at a church and requested that law enforcement help mediate the child exchange and facilitate the exchange. Even though the pastor of the church was aware of the existing court order and had indicated to the officer that he would help facilitate the exchange, he did not surrender the child.

After a protracted wait, the 13-year-old was eventually returned to her father. Child custody issues can get emotionally charged for everyone involved. When a child custody order exists, it specifically notes who has custody of the child, what the parenting time schedule for the other parent is and what the schedule if any for grandparents is. In many cases, the court order will note the specific times the child must be returned and the manner in which the exchange with take place.

Failure to abide by an existing child custody order can result in the involvement of law enforcement and other serious consequences such as contempt of court. If dispute over child exchange, custody and parenting time were to arise, either party can file for a modification. It is important to follow the legal procedure and resolve the dispute in a manner which is in the best interest of all involved.

Source: USA Today, "Cop interrupts church service for custody call," Hana Frenette, Sept. 14, 2015

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