The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a child custody swap gone awry, which left 37-year-old father Antonio Dozier dead. Very few details of the shooting were provided by the police.
Last Saturday, when Antonio Dozier was returning his children to their mother in southwest Atlanta, he encountered the mother's new boyfriend. The children were transferred to the mother, the two men exchanged some words and then brandished handguns.
Fifteen shots were fired; the children's father was shot once in the chest and died at the scene. The unidentified mother's new boyfriend (who also was not identified) was grazed and reportedly is in stable condition.
Police told reporters they are still investigating the case and have not yet filed charges.
Since no other details about the incident were provided, it's unclear why these two men were armed for a child custody transfer or whether they had had altercations in the past. Parents concerned for their safety or that of their children may want to explore their options with a Georgia family law attorney.
While most child custody swaps do not end in armed conflict, problems are not uncommon. FindLaw's FAQ on interference with custody or visitation highlights some of the more common issues.
Arguments and disputes typically arise over shared responsibilities (such as homework supervision and laundry); being late for a custody swap; not providing adequate accommodations for children; differences in religious views and other issues.
Most of these disputes can be worked out with the other parent, assuming the other party is reasonable. Failing that, however, a mediator or an action prepared by an Atlanta family law attorney often remedies the situation.
But if the other party has a penchant for violence, perhaps visitation or joint custody is not in the children's best interests.