An unmarried father who took his 7-year-old girl from a Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital in December during an ongoing custody dispute has reportedly been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault in connection with that incident. The girl had been brought to the hospital for a scheduled medical treatment when the incident occurred. The 26-year-old father reportedly physically assaulted the girl’s mother before leaving with his daughter.
At the time the incident was first reported, investigators were still determining whether any child custody orders were violated. More charges were to be filed if any orders were broken. The incident is a reminder of the consequences of taking any drastic actions regarding custody, whether before, during or after a custody dispute.
When couples are in the midst of a custody dispute or before the parties have adjusted to the outcome of any legal proceedings, emotions can be high and it can be tempting to take matters into one’s own hands. This is never a good idea, as the authorities will always get involved and the outcome will not be positive.
In Michigan, parents can be found guilty of interfering with custody time whenever they keep a child for more than 24 hours with the intent of keeping him or her from another parent or guardian who has custody or parenting time rights. To do so is a felony punishable by up to a year and a day in prison.
It is important for parents to not only know their custody rights and to obtain a satisfactory outcome in their custody dispute, but also to keep their cool when the relationship between them and their ex doesn’t go well. Escalating things will only make matters worse.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “Father Takes Child From Children’s Hospital During Custody dispute,” Bob Allen, December 19, 2014.