When is Police Intervention Appropriate for a Family Law Dispute?

  1. Domestic Violence
  2. When is Police Intervention Appropriate for a Family Law Dispute?
When is Police Intervention Appropriate for a Family Law Dispute?

When you are having a really difficult time with your spouse during the midst of a separation, you may find yourself in situations where you feel scared or powerless. Some people contact relatives and friends for support, while others call their lawyers to pursue their legal options. Further, it is not unusual for law enforcement to become involved in domestic disturbances.

The choice whether to call 911 for a family law dispute is truly a personal one that depends on your circumstances.   It is important to balance the following information if you are in a position to make that choice due to a family dispute.

Law Enforcement Does Not Exist to Micromanage Your Relationships

Law enforcement officers have a tough job and are required to respond to many calls every day. With this in mind, it is important to be mindful that police and sheriff officers are not in the business of policing relationships or disagreements. For example, if you have an informal arrangement regarding weekend visitation, but the other parent refuses to abide by the terms of your arrangement, law enforcement is not going to take an interest in resolving the situation. Similarly, disagreements and arguments about money and personal property are not something that the police can help you settle. Instead, these are issues that should be raised with your family law attorney.

Fear for Physical Health or Your Life

In contrast, law enforcement takes physical safety very seriously. Any time there is domestic violence, physical violence, a fear of bodily harm, criminal activity, or child abuse, it is entirely appropriate to contact law enforcement. Further, law enforcement should be contacted when court orders are violated and a person’s life or safety is in jeopardy, such as violations of protective orders and parental kidnapping.

False Reports are NEVER Acceptable

As family law attorneys with decades of combined experience, we have seen some less than optimal separation agreements and child custody arrangements. If a separation agreement or parenting agreement/court order does not specifically outline details of the arrangement, it may lead to poor decision making because of ambiguity of the language in the agreement or order. One of these includes calling law enforcement to make false reports regarding misconduct like trespassing, property destruction, domestic violence, or child abuse. Sometimes, these calls are impulsive and designed to make the other person suffer. Other times, it may be a pre-calculated decision to attempt to turn the tide in a legal dispute over spousal support or custody.

Making false reports is NEVER a good idea, as these tactics rarely fool courts and it completely undermines the credibility of the guilty party. Also, people responsible for false reports open themselves up to prosecution and diverts law enforcement from real emergencies. Even worse, law enforcement officers are on heightened alert when it comes to domestic disturbance calls, which creates unpredictability and danger.


Contact New Direction Family Law

Is your marriage ending? If so, you should speak with a family law attorney to help you find your best path forward. At New Direction Family Law, our attorneys are smart, thoughtful, and motivated to fight for our client’s rights. We provide full representation of all of the issues that surround divorce and child custody disputes. If you need legal assistance, contact us. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call us at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or visit us online through our website.

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