Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How do custody swaps get so contentious? How indeed (Atlanta, Georgia)

This is the kind of public ignorance we have to deal with.

The reporter observes that in the Atlanta area, there have been two incidences of "custody swaps" that "ended in violence" and wonders why they "get so contentious."

She gets completely sidetracked by the locations of these swaps (public chain store parking lots) and wonders if parking lots have something do with it. Huh?

You know that cliche, guns don't kill people, people kill people?

Likewise, parking lots don't kill people. People kill people. Get a clue. I suppose the hope is that a public place might make violent offenders less likely to act out, because they wouldn't like witnesses. There's no guarantee, though. So your suggestion that the exchanges take place at "parent's houses or friend's houses" is even worse. That would just embolden violent parents (mostly fathers) even more.

As for doing the exchange at the police station, please ask yourself the obvious question. If one person in this family is such a high risk for violent behavior, then why the hell do they have any visitation with the children at all?

The subject of these couples' "conversations" is also completely irrelevant. Murders are not the results of disagreements over school discipline and the like. They are the result of a long pattern of domestic violence, usually perpetrated by the father, that have been allowed to fester and continue post-separation.

You want to know how to stop "custody swaps" from getting contentious? Stop "custody swaps" when there's a violent parent! Give the non-violent protective parent sole custody and let the family heal.

How do custody swaps get so contentious?
10:13 pm February 14, 2010, by Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

For the second time in less than 12 months a custody swap has ended with violence outside of a big chain outlet store, and I’m wondering what generally happens at these swaps and how they get so contentious.

From today’s AJC story: “Suwannee Police responded to a call around 4 p.m. Sunday about an argument between a man and woman in a Walmart parking lot. When police arrived on the scene they found the man and woman had been stabbed, apparently as a result of an argument, Cpt. Cass Mooney, a Suwanee police spokesman, told the AJC.”

Two children were at the scene of a knife attack in Suwanee that left their mother dead, and their father awaiting charges.”

“The couple has been identified as Shelley Dyan Dunn, 27, of Buford and Phillip Chad Dunn, 28, of Lawrenceville.”

“ ‘The meeting was a custody exchange between the husband and wife,’ Mooney said. “At some point the husband pulled out a knife stabbing the wife and then himself.’ ”

Another custody swap ended in violence last April outside of a Target store but the husband wasn’t involved. Heather Strube, 25, had just picked up her 18-month-old son from her estranged husband, Steven Strube, outside of a Target store when she was shot by someone police say was wearing a wig and fake mustache. Police believe Strube’s mother-in-law Joanna Hayes was the one wearing the disguise.

From an October AJC story following the case: “Joanna Hayes has been charged with malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, according to Roy Whitehead, Snellville police chief. She is accused of shooting and killing her daughter-in-law, Heather Strube, on April 26 in the Scenic Highway store’s parking lot.”

“Steven Strube was ruled out as a suspect, police said in May, because he drove away before the shooting occurred. The child was not harmed.”

First of all, divorced couples please tell us why are all these custody swaps taking place outside of large chain stores? Why don’t they take place at the parent’s houses or friend’s houses?

Secondly, what in the heck happens during the swaps that violence breaks out in parking lots? What are you talking about that gets so heated? Is it big stuff about school or discipline or little nit-picky stuff about whether they ate well while at the other parent’s house?

Where do you meet to do your custody swaps? Where is a safer place to meet than outside large chain stores? Should they be meeting inside police stations or police station parking lots? Is there a way to eliminate these types of situations?

Help us understand what generally happens at these types of custody swaps that can get so out of hand.