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When child custody disputes affect visitation

Every day, numerous child custody exchanges take place between California parents who have ended their relationships or gotten divorced. An exchange describes the point when children leave one parent and join the other according to a custody or visitation schedule. Although this process often goes smoothly, common disagreements over schooling, child care practices and unpaid child support can arise and cause tension or outright hostility during the exchange.

Strong parental emotions sometimes lead to extremely misguided actions that involve violence. In one case, a child custody dispute resulted in the death of a 49-year-old father. The boyfriend of his ex-wife shot him in front of the children during an exchange. Another 20-year-old father thought that he might win custody of his children if he had his friend shoot him. Although he had planned on only being injured, the wound killed him.

Less tragic examples of disputes involve arguing, yelling, pushing or hitting during an exchange of children. Although law enforcement might attempt to control hostilities, police cannot resolve child custody issues. Typically, they can only record the details of an altercation. This information might be considered in court at a later time.

Child custody disputes can of course be devastating to the children as well. Far too often, parents view them as battles to be won or lost, when in reality it is often the child who suffers. A parent who is finding it difficult to have the other parent abide by the terms of an existing custody and visitation order may want to meet with a family law attorney to see how it should be handled. In some cases, an advisable approach would be to file a motion with the court seeking a modification of the order’s terms.