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Father seeks help from police in child custody case

Some Pennsylvania parents know the visitation rules in a child custody agreement are not always observed. There are cases when the parent chosen by the court to retain child custody runs into difficulty when picking up the child upon the conclusion of visitation. A recent attempt by a father and a police officer to gain physical custody of the father's child was met with outrage by a church's pastor and its congregation.

The father was to get the child from her grandparents' home, located outside the city limits. The county sheriff's deputies accompanied the father, but they were unable to leave with the child because the child and her grandparents were not home. The father then went to the city police department for help in getting his daughter because he had learned that she was at her grandfather's church located inside the city limits.

An officer went to the church with the father and was going to wait until the service was over to request that the grandfather, who is the pastor of the church, release the child to her father. The grandfather seemed to be stalling, even though he had previously agreed he would hand the child over to her father when he came for her. The officer felt she had allowed the pastor more than enough time to hand the girl over and entered the church for the purpose of getting the girl. The pastor and the members of the congregation felt the officer should have waited until the service was over before entering; however, the officer's superior backed her up in her decision. The girl and her father left once the service was over.

Child custody agreements can range from simple to very complex. Finding a professional who knows the legalities of preparing a contract that will be accepted by the court is essential. When deciding on the terms of the agreement, Pennsylvania parents should put aside any differences they have between each other and settle on what is best for the children.

Source: USA Today, "Cop interrupts church service for custody call", Hana Frenette, Sep. 9, 2015

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