In Custody Proceedings, What Problems Are You Likely to Face with Foreign Pick-Up Orders?

What is a Pick-Up Order?

In Florida, a pickup order that is issued may be issued to secure the physical custody of a child from one party and then deliver that child to another party. Most courts disfavor pickup orders for children, as it is thought that it may be harmful for children to be exposed to this procedure.  The author believes that it can be tramatic for a child to experience the police enforcing a change of custody when it is unexpected and is apparently stressful on the parent that must give up custody.  Most judges will use this type of an order sparingly when other attempts to correct custody disputes fails.  If a pickup order is properly worded, the police/sheriff should enforce a child custody/pickup order.  The language that the author believes is essential in his experience dictates that the order shall be enforced by all sheriff’s of the state.  An order without this language or its equivalent generally will not be enforced by the police.

What is a Foreign Pick-Up Order?

A Foreign Pickup Order is an order from another jurisdiction (other than the jurisdiction the jurisdiction that the child is presently in) to remove a child from the custody of one party and place that child in the custody of another party.  A serious problem that has been experienced by people trying to have a foreign order enforced is that the police often do not understand that they are authorized to enforce a pickup order from a sister state.  Police typically are not confident that they have the legal authority to enforce out of state pickup orders.  The Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act provide a legal basis to enforce proper child pickup orders without having to domesticate them.  However, the author has experienced a total lack of understanding regarding enforcement from Florida Police and Sheriff’s Departments and his clients report that other states’ police departments are reluctant to enforce Florida orders without a local judge’s approval.  It is particularly unfortunate that the police frequently have a misunderstanding of the law which can result in a parent missing an opportunity to pickup a child at an opportune time.  Although the author believes that the majority of pickup orders are enforced in a short period of time, sometimes locating a child can be difficult.  This is the case when the parent attempting to avoid the order keeps moving, which illustrates why there is a need for the police to act expeditiously and without hesitation when they are presented with a valid pickup order.

How Can I Avoid Problems Enforcing an Out of State Pickup Order?

The author believes that the problem lies in states not having a statute that mirrors the UCCJEA and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.  There is some controversy in some states where there is confusion as to whether a civil order can be enforced by law enforcement via the use of arrest powers.  Although such confusion does not appear to currently exist in Florida, states such as North Carolina have had such a quandary.  See Chick v. Chick, 164 N.C. App. 444 (2004).  North Carolina has adopted the provisions of the UCCJEA that would now allow the enforcement of an out of state pickup order.

Even where the law allows the immediate enforcement of a foreign pickup order, it is advisable to have an attorney prepare a synopsis of the law to present to the police supervisor that is responsible for enforcement.  Without each police department more thoroughly understanding the enforcement issues of foreign orders, a parent trying to enforce one is likely to deal with red tape and delays.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are attempting to enforce a child pickup order in Florida, you should seek an attorney experienced in enforcement of pickup orders.  The attorneys at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC are experienced in divorce and family law matters and they can help you to have a child pickup order enforced. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney, Call (904) 685-1200 today. Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207. Telephone (904) 685-1200.

About the author

Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing law for over 17 years in North Florida.  Mr. Weinreb received the highest possible rating from Martindale Hubbell, AV Pre-eminent.  Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida and regularly handles family law matters.  Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation.  An important child support case that Mr. Weinreb successfully appealed in 2017 was, Sencoa Crawford v. State of Florida in which Florida’s First District Court of Appeals found that hearing officers did not have the authority to order arrests of Obligors.  Crawford v. Department of Revenue, 219 So. 3d 224 (1st DCA 2017).






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