Originally Posted by TearyCloud
I called the local police to get their opinion. The officer told me that they don't interfere in domestic orders. He said to keep printouts of everything, and he advised me to let ds go, because otherwise there's a likelyhood that I'd lose primary custody, face a fine and face time in jail. He said that the courts probably would reverse our custody order if I keep ds.
I am so sorry that you are going through this, it sounds absolutely dreadful and I hope you can at least enjoy a nice, relaxing Christmas evening. Make that a large glass of wine!
But I wanted to comment on what the police officer said to you: ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. For full disclosure, I am not a lawyer but a law student, and I've just finished a Family Law class with a practitioner who specialises in divorce and child custody. Just a few things I wanted to pass on:
1. It is, technically, possible to be found in civil contempt of a custody order. But in reality, it is extremely rare and would certainly require more than a refusal to hand a child over for a visit that breaches a standing agreement for one day. (In fact your ex is much more likely to be found in contempt than you.)
2. To be found in criminal contempt is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE. Criminal contempt is a much higher standard than merely civil contempt. You would have to be breaching parenting time or support obligations on a systematic basis for the court to even consider this. (And they almost never do. The jails are overflowing - do you really think they are going to waste cell space on a mother who resisting handing over her child for an unagreed-to visit?) I'm actually quite angry about what the polcieman said - he's an idiot. The idea that custody could be reversed, or you could go to jail for this - an absolute nonsense. I can't even articulate how ridiculous that notion is (maybe I rethink the law as a career :-)).
3. To change a custody order, the courts look to whether or not there have been significant changes in the child's circumstances (re-marriage of the custodial parent, parent seeks to relocate, etc) and if so, whether a change of custody would be in the "best interest of the child." The events that you have described wouldn't even come close. I doubt you'd find a lawyer who would not laugh your husband out of the building if he suggested that custody should be changed because of a dispute about Christmas visits.
4. The most important one!! Please find yourself a decent lawyer, who can put your mind at rest that you are behaving perfectly reasonably. If you are struggling financially, go to Legal Aid, or get some recommendations and ask them if they do pro bono (free) work. Most lawyers are obligated to spend a certain number of hours per year on pro bono cases, you might be the one case they are looking for!
5. Repeat - that police officer is a jackass. And repeat. And repeat. He knows nothing about the law. Nothing.
Merry Christmas. I hope things work out for you. And please get a lawyer.