Attorneys see rise in child custody disputes during holidays

Counselor offers advice on how to safely navigate child custody exchanges
(Source: KSLA News 12 photo illustration)
(Source: KSLA News 12 photo illustration)
Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 11:14 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — At least two men have lost their lives this month as a result of disputes involving child custody.

Shreveport police confirmed Monday, Nov. 29 that a father died after being wounded when a child custody exchange escalated into a shootout outside a Shreveport gas station the previous night. He had multiple gunshot wounds, including at least one to his lower abdomen.

And it was Nov. 16 when 23-year-old Jamar Alexander Norris died after being shot at least twice in his upper body in the 2900 block of Peach Street. Detectives learned that Norris and his estranged girlfriend were arguing over child custody when her father allegedly shot Norris. Authorities have since arrested 55-year-old James Kelly Stubblefield on a charge of second-degree murder.

Shreveport police Sgt. Angie Wilhite urges people to remember the police station is a safe spot for child custody exchanges.

KSLA News 12′s Tayler Davis spoke with attorney Courtney Harris about how often child custody disputes occur.

Attorneys see an uptick in child custody cases during the holidays, and children are impacted the most by them, Harris said.

“You know you have to remember that children are very impressable. They look at their parents for guidance,” the attorney explained. “And when they see things of this nature, and to the extent that you are having gun violence that occurs in exchange, it traumatizes them.”

Harris said disputes like this often escalate because of people unrelated to either the mother or father.

“I always encourage the parents to not involve their dating partner unless they are a spouse because it helps to eliminate a lot of aggression and confusion. And at least consider if there is no agreement and there is a lot of animosity between the parents that you get the grandparents involved to help facilitate.”

Harris offered three tips to safely navigate child custody exchanges.

And she added: “You do have to get the court to intervene and put a plan in place that outlines provisions for all parties to adhere to as far as exchanging the children, and that includes the time, date, holidays.”

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