Aftermath of Playground ‘Divorce’ Leads to Domestic Violence Court

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A playground “marriage” that led to a playground “divorce” has landed two fifth-graders in domestic violence court.

In an unusual use of New Mexico’s Family Violence Protection Act--usually invoked in cases of domestic violence--the family of 11-year-old Katie Rose Sawyer of Farmington, N.M., filed a complaint against Cody Finch, 10, and his two brothers.

The April 21 complaint alleges that Cody punched Katie Rose, that he made a threatening call to her and that her home was vandalized over the past two months.


Cody’s attorney argued that the case belonged in children’s court, but a special commissioner called for under the Family Violence Protection Act ruled that the youngsters had a “continuing personal relationship” as defined by the law.

A hearing is set for Monday to determine if domestic violence occurred and if the court should issue a restraining order.

“I’m a little appalled by the idea of fifth-graders having a playground marriage and a playground divorce and ending up in domestic-violence court,” Cody’s attorney, Raymond Archambeau, said Monday. “What kind of world are we living in?”

The children got “married” on the school playground with a classmate acting as the minister, said Cody’s mother, Jinx Finch.

Cody played at Katie Rose’s house, and she made him hot dogs and Kool-Aid, Finch said.

But later, “the little girl who performed the marriage decided she liked Cody and wrote up divores--that’s d-i-v-o-r-e-s--papers,” she said. The papers say Cody and Katie Rose “are sick and tired” of each other and want a divorce, Finch said.

The court complaint by the girl’s parents, Marty and Melinda Moon, alleges Cody punched Katie Rose on Jan. 24.


Mrs. Moon told the Denver Post that she went to court because she wanted her daughter protected after the boy made harassing phone calls.

She said that after the family installed a device to block calls, windows in their home were broken and hubcaps were stolen off the family car. She said she suspected the boy’s 15- and 16-year-old brothers. The boys’ mother denied that they were involved in any vandalism and said the case “would be hilarious if it weren’t so expensive.”