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Woman calls police for divorce help, cited for disorderly conduct

Going through a divorce is a difficult experience for anyone. Turning to traditional sources of help is a common reaction, usually friends and family. For one woman, however, the source she turned to was unable to help with the traditional issues related to divorce, such as child custody decisions or asset division.

A woman in Pennsylvania, just two states over from Massachusetts, decided to call 911 to ask the police to assist with her divorce. Though she was not asking for help with a simple property division, she did hope that the police would be able to remove her husband from the premises.

Though possibly sympathetic to the situation, the police informed the woman that they could not be of service in this particular situation since no crime had been committed by the husband. A divorce is not a criminal matter --such as breaking and entering -- but is a civil matter, placing it in an entirely different segment of the law. Even more unfortunate for the woman, the police then cited her for disorderly conduct and misusing the local 911 number.

Though unsuccessful, the woman's claim does raise and interesting point about property division. During a divorce proceeding, a couple must decide how to split up the marital property -- that is the things they accumulated whilst married. Though courts, such as that in Massachusetts, have some discretion as to how to divide the assets, they cannot force someone out of a home during a divorce proceeding.

As the woman mentioned above discovered, neither can the police.

Source: CBS Atlanta, "Pa. woman cited for calling 911 seeking divorce," April 15, 2013

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