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Holidays Can Be Tough For Children Of Divorced Parents

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ZEBULON, N.C. — The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, joy and family, but for divorced parents, the holidays can mean war.

Even though they are separated, Inellis Mauras was willing to let her husband see his boys on Christmas, but that is not going to happen now after police said he tried to illegally take the children from their mother.

"I know what a father is. I didn't want to take that away from him," she said.

Zebulon police said 24-year-old Jose Rodriguez showed them Pennsylvania court papers giving him full custody. Investigators determined the document was fake and arrested Rodriguez.

"I can understand where he's coming from as a father," Zebulon police Lt. Mike McGlothin said. "You can show sympathy and empathy towards him, but there is a proper procedure to go through and this is not the way to handle it."

"I've been very shocked with his actions. I was married for four years and I feel like I didn't know who I was married to," Mauras said. "It's been shocking. It's been a rollercoaster."

Judges are the ones who handle child custody, but over the holidays, the courthouse is closed and that is when cases tend to spin out of control. Over the holidays, divorce attorney Lee Rosen said he gets dozens of emergency calls from clients about their kids.

"It's a neverending cycle year after year of people just flipping out over the children at the holidays," he said. "We try to get people to gain some perspective and to really think about what it is they are doing. While the parents are at war, the children are often bystanders. They are seeing it all and living it all."

Mauras and her husband are scheduled to go to court in mid-January to settle their custody dispute. Police will only get involved in custody cases if a parent violates a court order.