Can my husband take my children and move out-of-state without my consent?

Question Details:My husband is threatening to take our children and move out of state. Is he in any way allowed to do this and is there anything I can do to make sure he doesn't? We are still married. Do I need an attorney to help me with this? I'm in Berks County, Pa.

Asked 5 years ago under Divorce, Marriage, Alimony | 11116 Views | More Legal Topics

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B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 5 years ago

There are a number of things you can do about this, and which one makes the most sense is going to depend on a lot of detail about your situation, more than you could or should put into a question here.  You need to talk to a lawyer, as soon as possible, for reliable advice.

Your worst-case scenario, of course, is that you wake up one morning, or come home at some point, and find them all gone.  If that happens, you must get a lawyer and get into court as soon as possible.  The good news:  as long as you don't wait six months act, your husband would not be able to get a valid court order in whatever state he moved to, and you would have quite a bit of leverage to force the children's return -- unless your husband is willing to live as a fugitive.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar | FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney Answered 5 years ago

If there is no court order in effect, than he can take your children out-of-state.  However, you can go to court and obtain an order which will require him to stay in the state (or return to the state if he leaves).  If at that point he leaves (or doesn't return), he can be charged with parental kidnapping.

The best way for you to obtain legal custody of the children is for you to go to court first.  Taking a child from their home to live in another state without a court order is not a good idea; either now or in the long run, insofar as a custody battle is concerned.  What you want to do is get a temporary order from the court on custody and visitation.  It will be temporary because a final decree will be issued upon divorce.  The court will consider the bests interests of the children in making its determination.  The court will look at the age of your child, the relationship of the parents and the child, the present living situation of the child, etc. 

Note:  He could file for custody once he re-establishes residency in the new state; it but that will take time but could be done.  So, you should file ASAP.

Right now, you need to consult with an attorney in your area.

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