A Minnesota woman has been charged with multiple felonies stemming from her failure to make the child available to the father during the father’s parenting time. In fact, in addition to failing to produce the child at the appointed time, she stated that she had put the child in foster care (she had not actually done so).
According to the PostBulletin, Cherie Dawn Robinson, of Winona, Minnesota, failed to produce the child for the father’s parenting time on several occasions. “The criminal cases began Aug. 30, when a man called law enforcement. He showed officers a copy of a court order that indicated he was to have custody of a child from 6 p.m. Sunday through 3:30 p.m. Thursday.”
This is a critical point: the father had a court order which spelled out very specifically the parenting time schedule. Because of this, the police were able to immediately determine that the mother was in violation of the court order.
Says Anne P. Mitchell, one of the first fathers’ rights lawyers in the United States, and founder of DadsRights.org, “What many single parents don’t understand is that failure to turn over the child to the other parent when that other parent has court-ordered parenting time is tantamount to parental kidnapping, or, as in the case here, criminal deprivation of parental rights. Just because the withholding parent is still in town, maybe at their house or a restaurant with the child, does not mean it’s not parental kidnapping, legally speaking.”
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[Note: There is a chapter on parental kidnapping in They’re Your Kids Too: The Single Father’s Guide to Defending Your Fatherhood in a Broken Family Law System, which you can download for just $9.95 here.]
In fact, in this case, it seems that the mother was intentionally obfuscating while executing surreptitious plans to relocate herself and the child out of state, to Wisconsin.
According to the PostBulletin “On Oct. 4, authorities learned Robinson was trying to enroll the child in a school in Wisconsin without the knowledge or consent of the other parent. She allegedly also told members of law enforcement in Wisconsin that the child had been placed in a foster home, and wouldn’t allow them to enter the Wisconsin residence where she was staying.”
This is a case which has the potential to have a good outcome, in large part because the father both had a highly specific (and so highly enforceable) court order, and because he knew to call the authorities when his parenting time was being thwarted by the other parent.
This is a good time for you to check to make sure that your own parenting time court orders spell out very clearly when your parenting time is, and if they don’t, to get that fixed.