Sheehan & Associates, P.L.C.

Sending children to "jail" in a divorce?

 

Divorce is never the ideal solution. In a perfect world, all parents of all children would get along, maintain healthy relationships and foster the development of happy, well-adjusted children. That, however, is not our world.

 

We live in a world where relationships fail, and when those relationships consist of married couples with children, the ending of those relationships include many technical and legal aspects. There is the separation of the finances of the two parents. There is the custody relationship that will follow the marriage. 

 

And that discussion can become very complex and unpleasant. A case that has made headline in Detroit and across the world is an extreme case of what happens when parents' disagreements get out of hand.

In July, the judge in the case ordered the three children sent to a county detention facility after they refused to have lunch with their father. The judge also threatened to send the mother to jail for her interference in the case. She has repeatedly violated court orders during the five-years the divorce has been in litigation.

The father alleges the mother is suffering from psychological problems and has requested full custody of the children. The mother's attorney claims the children are "thriving." The judge order psychological testing of the family, and placed the children into "five-day intensive therapy treatment designed to treat parental alienation."

Since mid-August, the children have been living with their father and he has requested the court prohibit any contact with the mother for the next 90 days.

This case shows how a failing marriage can translate into a failing divorce, where the alienation of the children can become so extreme that a judge has to order the children into what amounts to protective custody from one of the parents.

If you have children, unless there is substantial evidence of abuse, you need to develop a custody plan that will allow you to work with your children's other parent. Remember, the goal is what is in the best interests of the children. Most people would agree that protracted litigation like this is not the best outcome for the children.

 

Source: usatoday.com, "Children who refused lunch with dad reunite with him," L.L. Brasier, Detroit Free Press, September 10, 2015

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