Ability to Show Police a Parenting Time Order as Important Now as it Was in 2018

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Back in 2018 we told you about how retired NBA player Matt Barnes could have gone to jail had things turned out differently. But instead he drove away with his 9-year-old twins, while their mother, reality TV-star Gloria Govan, was arrested on charges of felony child endangerment. Why did mom – not dad – wind up in the legal hot seat? Here’s why.


Barnes had his paperwork with him.

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 in the moment, and could even cause the court to reconsider the custody arrangement.

Here’s what happened:

One Friday in 2018, 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.

And the court took the incident seriously. In fact the judge set Govan’s bail at $100,000.

What to Do When Your Parenting Time is Being Thwarted

Some mothers seem to insist on trying to make dad look like the bad guy even when he’s not, and will even manufacture situations to try to cast dad in that light. 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.

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!

Having parenting time order in-hand is important

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