Arizona parents may be shocked to hear of an unusual and controversial case in which three minor children have been placed within a juvenile detention facility for refusing to visit with their estranged father. A judge made the decision to incarcerate the children after the most recent hearing in the long-running child custody case, and is the subject of a great deal of outrage. Many believe that she has far overstepped her authority in the matter, and is using an undue level of pressure in trying to force the kids to engage in court-ordered visitation with their father.
The parents have been in court dozens of times since their 2009 divorce. The mother of the three children, ages 15, 10 and 9, is a pediatric glaucoma specialist at the UM Kellogg Eye Center. She claims that her husband has been physically abusive in the past, and sought a protective order in 2010 after an alleged incident of assault. Her claims could not be substantiated, however, and her petition was denied. The eldest child, a boy, asserts that he saw his father strike his mother, and that he refuses to visit with or speak to him.
Court documents and statements made by the judge suggest that the court believes that the children have been unduly influenced or even brainwashed by their mother. The father, who works as an engineer with General Motors, lives abroad for much of the year. It is unclear how often he has visitation rights with the children, or how frequently he has tried to spend time with them in recent years.
Until the matter is resolved, the three minor children are being held inside of a juvenile detention center, where they are not allowed to be in contact with one another or any member of their maternal family. They have not broken any laws, nor have they been part of any juvenile criminal proceeding. The judge in the case asserts that they are in contempt of court, but minor children are not parties to a child custody case. Many parents in Arizona and elsewhere are outraged that these three children are being held in a facility meant to house juvenile offenders as part of a visitation dispute.
Source: thedetroitnews.com, “Siblings thrown in juvie hall for refusing to see dad“, Mike Martindale and Jennifer Chambers, July 9, 2015