When a divorcing couple in Wisconsin has children, the divorce decree will typically include a child custody order. These child custody orders have the full effect and force of the law and parents who try to change the terms of child custody on their own can face serious legal consequences.
Like court orders for child support, child custody orders cannot be changed without involving the court system. A family law judge has the final say on any changes to child custody orders. Recently, a Wisconsin man landed in hot water when he did not strictly abide by the terms of a child custody order.
The man had been in a prolonged child custody dispute with his ex-wife, and the couple had a planned custody exchange scheduled at 5:00 in the evening on June 19. However, he did not show up for the exchange and his ex-wife called the police.
The police began a search for the man and the couple's two children and located them at around 1 a.m. on June 21. The children were returned to their mother and the man was arrested. He initially faced felony charges of interference with child custody.
A judge later reduced the charges against the man to disorderly conduct after hearing testimony from those involved and hearing from the man's attorney. According to the man's attorney, he withheld custody because he feared for the safety of his children and did not want to return them to his ex-wife until he could get an emergency placement hearing.
As this story demonstrates, courts are heavily involved in child custody matters and it can be easy for a parent to get into legal trouble if he or she acts rashly. When there is a dispute involving child custody, it is important for parents to work with an attorney and with the court system instead of taking matters into their own hands.
Source: Barron News-Shield, "Charges reduced on Scott Mancl," Mary Glynn, 7/9/2011