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Lack of a child visitation plan can lead to complications

A lack of a plan for child visitation can lead to easily avoidable spats between two divorced or no-longer-together parents.

The importance of having a carefully drafted visitation plan, including holiday schedules, was highlighted on New Year's Eve after police responded to the home of a University of Pittsburgh football coach for an alleged domestic violence incident. According to sources, things had gotten physical between the coach and the mother of his 1-year-old child, after the woman had attempted to remove the child from his home just because she suspected that he was dating a new woman.

At this point it's unclear who actually had visitation rights that weekend with the child, because the two had never listened to their court order to agree on a holiday weekend visitation schedule.

According to a court document, the situation deteriorated when the woman showed up at the coach's residence and attempted to barricade the door. Sources claim she was upset because she suspected he was dating someone else.

Even though she was trying to not let him in his home, he was able to force the door open, and from there the two started to argue. At some point afterwards, the mother took the situation a step further and removed the child from the home. Allegedly, after the mother had already put the child in her car, the coach attempted to take the child back out. In the process he supposedly pulled the woman away backwards by her neck.

At this point the coach has been fired from his position as a football coach, and is facing a felony domestic violence charge. Last week he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

While this alleged incident took place in Pennsylvania, it shows the importance for parents all over the country to make sure that all visitation plans are clearly laid out. For if these two parents had listened to the court order and agreed on who had visitation New Year's weekend, then police could have been called as soon as the mother attempted to remove the child, and law enforcement could have then enforce the preapproved visitation plan.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Details can ease custody problems," Joyce Gannon, 10 Jan 2011

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