La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Father flaunts family law rules, stalks mother over child custody

Child custody and/or visitation issues in Florida are often raised by the one or both parents in a divorce action. Sometimes, however, these matters can come up long after the parties are divorced or permanently separated. In family law, one constant principle of child custody is that the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration, and whenever there is a change of circumstances the subject can be raised by a parent or other party in interest.

There is one distinct way in which a parent cannot bring up or try to prosecute a custody matter. That is through violence, harassing behavior or stalking the other parent in any manner whatsoever. An example of such behavior occurred recently in another state and the only results that the father achieved was an arrest for stalking, harassment and resisting arrest. His frantic behavior defeated the purposes he stated, and has likely put a lock on any positive movement in his custody and/or visitation needs at this time.

Police in a Pennsylvania town arrested the man for allegedly texting, calling and following a mother repeatedly over complaints about custody of their young child. It is unclear from the press reports whether the man has filed a formal custody action in court. When one parent is not providing reasonable visitation or where the parents cannot agree on custody or visitation rights, either parent may file a request for relief with the family law court.

The court will conduct hearings, take evidence, listen to witnesses and order home studies and psychological examinations where necessary. However, when a parent tries to take matters into his or her own hands outside of the court process, the family law judge will not give immediate relief to the offending party. In fact, the father's actions will change or halt the course of any legal proceedings for child custody or visitation that he may have started. The most he could expect at this time is strictly supervised visitation under the control of an agency of the local county court system. The same principles apply in most states, including here in Florida.

Source:, "'This means war,' Easton man allegedly tells ex in stalking case", Pamela Sroka-Holzmann, March 11, 2018

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