A Cook County judge on Tuesday ordered the former wife of NBA basketball star Dwyane Wade to shift visits with her children from Chicago to Florida until the court determines whether she interfered with a previously arranged visitation schedule.
Associate Judge Helaine Leslie Berger ruled Siohvaughn Funches-Wade, of South Holland, must temporarily visit her two sons, ages 5 and 10, in Florida after her June 16 arrest in which she allegedly refused to return her children to Wade’s sister for over eight hours. Berger also said Funches-Wade can’t talk about the incident with the two boys.
“Read my lips on this – you tell the kids: ‘I got arrested, your dad got me arrested’ … I take away your visitation,” Berger told Funches-Wade, who donned a blue sling on her right arm. “The children should not be in the middle of this.”
According to Wade’s attorneys, the boys missed their 3:05 p.m. flight that day out of Midway International Airport, forcing the Miami Heat guard to contract a private plane for the children so they could spend Father’s Day together.
Soon after, Wade, who was awarded sole custody of the children last year, filed an emergency petition asking the court to order supervised visits or suspend visitation until his former wife undergoes a medical exam. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for July 9.
Funches-Wade was later charged with two counts of attempted child abduction, two counts of unlawful visitation interference and resisting arrest. The charges prohibit her from leaving the area, but Berger, who is assigned to the court’s domestic relations division, said she would speak with the criminal judge to make an exception.
Wade did not attend the hours-long hearing, where three witnesses testified, including Wade’s sister, Maryya McDaniel; a retired judge who facilitates the visits; and Funches-Wade, who immediately invoked her Fifth Amendment rights.
Michael Haber, the attorney for Funches-Wade, said the entire incident has been blown out of proportion because of Wade’s celebrity status.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Haber said.
Wade has also filed a petition to enroll a judge from Dade County into the matter, arguing a Florida courthouse is a more appropriate venue now that the children live there, said his attorney, James Pritikin. The basketball star still wants his former wife in the children’s lives despite the contention, he added.
“He needs her to be healthy … and she is just not at that stage,” Pritikin said.
The child custody battle between Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade and his ex-wife returned to a Chicago courtroom today where Siovaughn Funches-Wade invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination during a hearing on visitation rights.
Funches-Wade is accused of child abduction for allegedly failing to return their sons, ages 10 and five, to Wade in a timely manner over the Father's Day weekend. She was supposed to give the boys to Wade's sister June 16 so that they could return to Miami to be with their father.
Wade is seeking a suspension of her visitation rights, or visitation only with supervision.
Funches-Wade's attorney, Michael Haber, said testifying Tuesday might hurt her defense against the criminal charges.
The couple was divorced in 2010, with Wade getting custody of the boys in 2011.Copyright © 2015, RedEye