Retired NBA player Matt Barnes could have gone to jail on Friday. Instead, he drove away with his 9-year-old twins, and their mother, reality TV-star Gloria Govan, was arrested on charges of felony child endangerment. Why did mom – not dad – wind up in the hot seat?
Barnes had his paperwork.
You know, the paperwork your lawyer encourages you to take with you whenever you’re with your children? The paperwork that spells out when you’re picking them up, how long you’ll have them, when you’re supposed to take them back to their mom’s house? The paperwork so many dads don’t even print off? It saved him big time, and this stunt could cause the courts to reconsider their custody arrangement.
Here’s what happened:
On Friday, Barnes went to his children’s school to pick them up for the weekend. He found their mother ushering them into the back of her car and told them to come with him instead. They did, and that’s when Govan began chasing them with her vehicle. At one point, the pursuit was so intense bystanders called 9-1-1.
When the police showed up, Barnes had his custody agreement in-hand, which clearly spelled out that it was Barnes who was supposed to pick the kids up from school that day, not Govan. His ex-wife didn’t have the chance to claim he’d taken them without permission or to pretend she was frightened and worried about his intentions.
Thankfully the courts are taking the incident seriously. The judge set bail at $100,000. Time will tell the impact this has on the couple’s custody agreement – and on their children.
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Some women seem to delight in making you look like the bad guy. In the Barnes – Govan situation, a dangerous car chase put their twins at risk. Most police wouldn’t think a mother would do that without a good reason. If Barnes hadn’t had a copy of his custody agreement, it would have been easy to have him arrested, or to simply prevent him from spending time with his children over the weekend.
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That said, as soon as his ex-wife became aggressive, Barnes should have pulled over and called the police himself. No one should tolerate abusive, dangerous behavior, especially when it places their children at risk. If your ex is denying you access to your children when you have a court order, call the police and ask for their assistance.
Let them know you have a copy of your paperwork too. Police are not supposed to pick sides in civil matters, but they will often help enforce a court order.
Have you been in a situation where having your court order with you helped, or have you been in a situation where having your court order with you would have helped but you didn’t have it handy? Let us know in a comment!