As the Miami Heat battles the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, South Florida divorce lawyers and family law attorneys are watching as star player Dwyane Wade endures personal battles of his own.
Wade is seeking to suspend ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade’s visitation with their 5- and 10-year-old boys after she was charged with two counts of attempted child abduction, two counts of unlawful
visitation interference and one count of resisting arrest – all related to her delay in returning the children to their father.
The incident began this weekend when she delayed their sons’ return to Miami to be with their father for Father’s Day, according to news reports. The boys eventually were flown home via private jet
chartered by Wade. The Wades were divorced in 2010. He was awarded custody in 2011 and her appeal was denied.
“Once again, [Siohvaughn Funches-Wade] has used our minor children as the proverbial pawns in this contentious dissolution of marriage action,” Wade wrote in his filing, according to news reports. “The minor children have been subjected to great deal of drama/trauma as a result of [her] conduct.”
Mr. Wade is right: Children should not be used as pawns in separation, divorce or ongoing matters. It’s usually a violation of a court order to do so. In Florida, custody agreements called Parenting Plans become the order of the court once the judge signs off and enters a Final Judgment adopting and ratifying same.
Parents who don’t follow the agreement may be held in contempt of court and risk paying the other party’s attorney’s fees and costs or – as in Ms. Funches-Wade’s case – incarceration.
Simply put – denying the other parent his or her regular timesharing or failing to return the children at the specified time is disfavored by the court. Judges often look at that type of behavior and determine that the parent denying timesharing or failing to return the kids is attempting to alienate the children from the other parent. This is never permissible and is strongly frowned upon.
Be reasonable. Discuss your preferences or requested changes. If your ex is – in your opinion – being unreasonable, seek to re-open the parenting plan.
It might be expensive – but less than being arrested
and hiring a defense attorney.