July 20, 2012

Father’s Day visitation subject of lawsuit by basketball star

Parents in Michigan and elsewhere who are struggling with visitation issues may face legal action in order to protect the well-being of children when they are not in compliance with court-ordered visitation arrangements. This issue recently came up when professional basketball player Dwyane Wade filed charges against his ex-wife for violation of visitation orders.

Wade has reportedly done everything he can to keep his children’s mother, Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, involved in the children’s lives, even after he was awarded sole custody of their two sons in one of the longest, high profile custody battles in Illinois. However, her recent behavior has resulted in further limitations on her ability to spend time with her kids.

Earlier this month, Funches-Wade refused to return the boys to their dad for Father’s Day, resulting in her arrest. Charges were filed against her for resisting arrest, visitation interference and child abduction. Although it is uncommon for police to get involved in visitation arrangements immediately, the celebrity status of Wade seems to have played a part in this case. Wade’s attorney noted that police don’t typically start investigating a missing person until 24 hours have passed from the time of a report being filed.

His attorney requested that the judge temporarily cease all visitation rights for Funches-Wade as punishment for her behavior. However, in an apparent effort to put the well-being of the children first, the judge decided that both parents would continue to have visitation rights. Funches-Wade may still visit her boys, but if she would like to see them in the next four months, she must travel to Florida, where Wade lives, rather than the previous arrangement of the boys traveling to visit her.

Funches-Wade has been represented by five law firms since this custody battle started. Her current lawyer, who has represented her for the past two years, is requesting to be removed from this visitation case. In the meantime, this visitation arrangement appears create greater stability for the two boys, by putting the burden of travel on their noncompliant mother rather than on them.

Source: ABC Local, “Judge: Dwyane Wade’s ex-wife must go to Florida for child visitation,” Karen Jordan, July 9, 2012