WILL THE POLICE HELP? IT’S A TOSS UP.

There are many occasions when police are called upon to help in a domestic situation.  The most obvious situation is a marriage argument or fight. Another common situation involves one spouse trying to leave the home and take personal possessions. I have had experience with many different situations and many different police officers and departments.

Either one of the spouses or a neighbor calls the police because of the dispute. The police arrive…what do they do? Our experience shows the result is never the same. In just the past few months, we have had the police do the exact opposite thing in the same situation.

In the first, our client was at her house trying to get her personal effects. No court order was in place.  The husband called the police who came and then prevented our client from taking things out of her own house. Their explanation was that given the doubt and the conflict, they were going to err on the side of things staying put.

Months later, a different client calls and says a moving van is at her house and her husband is taking things out of the house. We tell her to call the police and ask their assistance in stopping the raid on her house. They refuse, saying a man has a right to take his own things out of his own house.

Since there is no way of knowing what individual officers or departments will do, care should be taken in these situations.  First, don’t lose your cool with the police. You could end up going to jail.  Second, if you have some indication that something like this might happen or you have a desire to go get some things and anticipate trouble, call the police before the incident develops and let them know you are in a difficult matrimonial situation and might need their help.  Your call beforehand might put them on your side.

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