ASK A COP: Will police get entangled in custody disputes? | Crime

Sgt. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by readers each week. To submit a question for consideration, email [email protected].

Q. My ex frequently violates our child custody agreement. Can and will the police get involved?

A Unfortunately, what you are describing occurs all too often and can be very frustrating to deal with. When it comes to advice on how to handle child custody disputes, the best advice is likely going to come from your lawyer. From a law enforcement perspective, our ability to take action is going to vary depending on the situation. Individual agencies may even have policies in place that dictate how involved the officers can become in child custody matters.

Sgt. Krisa Brass

Sgt. Krisa Brass is with the Scottsbluff Police Department. She will answer questions submitted by readers each week. To submit a question for consideration, email [email protected].

Generally speaking, if no court ordered custody exists and law enforcement is called, the law enforcement role will be to keep the peace between both parties and ensure the welfare of the child or children involved. If a court ordered custody arrangement does exist, the officers will examine the order to determine the authenticity of the documents and establish who should have the lawful custody based on the order.

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The officer will notify the parties involved of their determination. Not following the court order may be a violation of the child custody agreement, which is a criminal offense and a report can be sent to the county attorney’s office for review of charges. If the child’s welfare is in jeopardy or if enticement was used to remove the child from their parent, law enforcement can take additional steps not outlined above.

If the complaint is solely regarding the other parent returning the child late after a visit or withholding the child from a visit, law enforcement should encourage both parties to uphold their end of the court ordered custody and make sure all parties understand what could potentially happen if they don’t. Keeping your own notebook or other record of occurrences is a good idea.

In addition to keeping track of instances yourself, you can also contact law enforcement and have a record made regarding your call. For instance, if your ex was supposed to pick your children up at 8 am and didn’t show up, you could call and speak with an officer and ask the information be documented. Even though it may seem tedious, your lawyer can obtain all of those records and be able to show the dates/times specific issues occurred. If you are uncertain which criteria your situation meets, you can always call and speak with an officer regarding your questions and concerns.

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