By Chris Kramer
If you have or are going through a divorce, you know there are a lot of important issues to work out that you and your spouse will not necessarily agree on. A major issue for families going through a divorce is who gets custody of the children. Some people are able to come to an agreement that involves joint custody and a lot of work and understanding on the parents’ behalf.
However, agreements on child custody don’t always go as smoothly as hoped, and sometimes disagreements can easily turn into custody battles. Parents will do everything in their power to be a part of their children’s lives, but just how far will some people take the issue?
According to The Post-Crescent, a woman in Minnesota used fake paperwork to convince police officers to remove her five children from the custody of their father on September 4. The next day, the police found out about the fraudulent paperwork and arrested the woman.
After Katrina T. Ware, of Robbinsdale, MN, learned where her ex-boyfriend was living in Grand Chute, she went to the police station to acquire some help. Ware arrived at the station around 9:30pm, asking officers to help her obtain custody of her five children. She presented paternity orders from Milwaukee County to reinforce her custody position.
According to Interim Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson, Ware did not make allegations that her children were being abused or mistreated, but simply, that she wanted custody. However, when police officers arrived at the father’s house, he also had paternity orders. Ware’s orders were dated 2005, while the father’s were dated 1999.
Although Peterson said that the officers should have waited until morning to work out the dispute between the two documents, the police honored Ware’s wishes and removed the five children from the home.
The next day, the police found out that Ware’s paternity papers were fraudulent paperwork. They arrested Ware and placed the five children, ages three to nine, with the Hennepin County protective services.
When police doubled checked the paternity order, they also discovered that Ware has had a history of interfering with child custody. She is being held on a warrant in Outagamie County, which charges her with two felony counts of interfering with child custody. The Hennepin child protective services are also investigation her in regards to the welfare of her children.
While the officers were removing the children, the father also presented a paternity order and was trying to convince the officers the children were in a safe environment. The officers probably should have waited until the next day to remove the children and double check on the order with Milwaukee County because the children appeared to be “well cared for.”
Peterson told The Post-Crescent that the case involves “some missteps on the part of town officers” but is a situation he hopes everyone will learn from. Although the officers should have handled the case differently, at the time, they were trying to honor what they thought to be a valid court order. As of now, the department doesn’t have any plans to discipline anyone for the missteps, but the office is using the ordeal to reinforce policies and training involving child custody issues.
After the matter was sorted out, Peterson said the police learned that the father had physical custody of the oldest boys, age eight and nine. The parents shared custody of their 7 year-old daughter, while Ware had custody of the youngest children, ages five and three. Right now, most of the children have been returned to their father.