A Michigan judge has elected to send three children to jail after they refused to spend time eating lunch with their father. The judge in the child custody case found the kids in contempt of court after they refused to spend time with their dad. As a result, they are now confined to Waterford Township's Children's Village, a facility that houses up to 200 juvenile offenders.
The children are in the middle of a hotly contested divorce that has been ongoing for the past five years. Their father, a well-known traffic safety engineer, and their mother, a pediatric eye doctor and regarded University of Michigan researcher, have been to court dozens of times in the past few years for divorce and custody matters. The mother, who appears to have primary physical custody, reportedly told the children to resist orders to spend time with their father. At a hearing in late June, she capitulated and told the court that she would be willing to set up a lunch date between the dad and their children, but the court told her that it was "too late" for that course of action.
It is not clear just how long the children will be held in custody. The judge in the case argues that she has removed the trio from an unhealthy environment in which the mother was essentially poisoning them against their father. The mother will not be permitted to visit her kids while they are housed in the government institution.
This is clearly an example of an extreme child custody case, but it is important to remember that divorce and custody matters put families at the mercy of the courts in many ways. In this instance, the children had court-appointed lawyers, but they refused to communicate with their attorneys. In order to reach a reasonable outcome, child custody attorneys must be allowed to play a role in resolving whatever conflict exists.
Source: Detroit Free Press, "Judge jails kids for refusing lunch with dad," Bill Laitner, July 09, 2015