A recent case illustrates how easily a child custody dispute can get out of hand and escalate into a criminal matter, making an already complex and stressful situation even more so. According to an article from WPXI News, a Pennsylvania man was charged with child endangerment for driving too close to his ex and disorderly conduct for giving her the middle finger in the midst of a child custody case.
Convicted Of Disorderly Conduct
The man was acquitted of the child endangerment charge, but convicted of the disorderly conduct charge. He appealed the disorderly conduct conviction and the conviction was ultimately overturned, with the judge stating that giving someone the middle finger fell within a person’s First Amendment rights and did not constitute a crime.
On the surface, this looks like a victory. However, it is important to take a moment to understand what was lost in the process. The initial event took place at the end of 2014 and the conviction was only recently overturned, meaning nearly two years were spent resolving the matter, and likely a substantial amount in legal fees.
What the article also does not mention is whether or not the man’s actions had an impact on his child custody case. This is the sort of thing that could impact a court’s decision when making a determination on child custody. Even though the First Amendment may protect freedom of speech, it does not protect from the repercussions of using that freedom. When it comes to child custody cases, it is better to behave.
In a child custody dispute, one of the benefits of working with an attorney is that you will get advice on how to behave. In the courtroom, your attorney will speak on your behalf. An experienced attorney will help you to put your best foot forward.