Law Enforcement and Family Law Cases
People going through or considering going through family law litigation often have unrealistic expectations as to how involved (if any) law enforcement can get. The issue of involving law enforcement typically comes into play when one party is withholding a child from the other party, and the other party calls the police in an effort to get the child back. If the couple is married and going through a divorce, the police will typically advise that they will not get in the middle of a civil dispute, and will further advise the complainant to call an attorney.
Police will get involved, however, if there is (1) a pick-up order involving a minor child, or (2) an imminent danger to the child. When a parent wrongfully absconds from the Court’s jurisdiction with a minor child, the Judge may issue a child pick-up order. This is an enforceable court order requiring any police officer that comes into contact with the offending parent to stop them and literally take the child from them.
In cases of domestic violence, police will often be called out as well. If a spouse is arrested by the police, that can greatly complicate matters. On the other hand, police will often show up and decide to not make an arrest. In instances like these, it is important to document your interaction with the police; even though an arrest was not made, the issue still may be a viable one to bring up in Court in an effort to show past instances of violence.
At the end of the day, it is rare for police to involve themselves in family law matter. Unless there is a true emergency or an imminent danger to life or health, it is often advisable to call your attorney as opposed to the police. That way, your attorney can work on getting a court hearing scheduled (on an emergency basis, if required) and get the Judge to intervene.