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Parents must use proper legal channels in child custody disputes

For many people, divorce is the most difficult experience in life, and the emotional and legal process of ending a marriage can be particularly trying if the spouses disagree over child custody. When a custody order is already in place while the divorce is being finalized, it is extremely important that parents abide by that order. Failing to do so can have negative consequences for everyone involved.

One Florida mom is having an extremely difficult time in the midst of her ongoing divorce. The former sheriff's deputy has recently been admitted twice for involuntary mental health examinations under the Florida Mental Health Act, commonly called the Baker Act, and she was arrested on Oct. 21 for allegedly interfering with a child custody order.

Police issued an Amber Alert after the mom picked up her 6-year-old son from school, and she and the little boy were found to be safe at a restaurant about a half hour later. The mother reportedly called authorities after learning that an Amber Alert had been issued.  

The woman's husband had been given sole custody of the child after one of the involuntary commitments under the Baker Act.

In addition to her family law troubles, the mother also lost her job with the sheriff's office after she didn't appear for an internal affairs investigation related to her arrest. She reportedly worked for the sheriff's office for 15 years.

An attorney for the woman's husband described her as a good mother and a "pillar of the community for years." A commander with the sheriff's department also described the woman's work record as flawless up to now.

However, a report on Oct. 29 confirmed that the mother had been arrested a second time for trying to take her son from school. She was again jailed, this time without bond.

When their parental rights are at stake, parents must use the proper legal channels to achieve the best possible outcome. Divorce can seem overwhelming, so it is important to have an experienced legal advocate on your side to ensure that your rights and your child's well-being are protected.

To learn more about family law and child custody in Florida, please visit our Plantation child custody overview.

Source: The St. Augustine Record, "Payne jailed after bond revoked," Oct. 29, 2014

Source: First Coast News, "Documents: Deputy showed 'bizarre behavior' before losing custody," Jessica Clark, Oct. 25, 2014

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