Police Enforcement Clauses
One of the biggest casualties in divorce or separation is trust between the parties. The trust may have been eroded years before through dealing with a bad relationship, or an incident during the separation process may have triggered a complete loss of trust overnight. Unfortunately, separating when there are children involved often means leaving the people you worry about most in the care of that person you no longer have faith in. Concerns about whether the other party will follow a court ordered parenting schedule often leads individuals to question whether the police can be involved to enforce their ordered parenting.
In these situations, a parent may request that a judge include a “Police Enforcement Clause” in their parenting order. This clause instructs a peace office to assist in enforcing the terms of the Order if the other parts fails to comply. If, after verifying that the other party has a copy of the Order and they have been given an opportunity to comply with the Order, the other party still refuses to comply, Peace Office has the authority to arrest the defiant parent.
While the risk of arrest is often effective in making sure that a parenting order is complied with, these clauses are not appropriate in every situation. If there has been a history of significant conflict, with a parent repeatedly refusing to follow a parenting order or returning the children to the other parent when required to, or a valid concern that one parent will pick up and move away with the child without warning, a Police Enforcement Clause may be ordered by the Court. When there is no such history, the Court will often refuse to order a Police Enforcement Clause.
Ultimately, given the potential consequences of invoking this clause, involving a peace officer in a parenting dispute is a serious step that should be considered carefully. If you are facing a situation where you believe that a police enforcement clause may be necessary, our experienced family law lawyers are available to help you.
By: Brittany Doucet.