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Can I Leave the State With My Child Without Telling the Other Parent?

Uncategorized Sep 07, 2017

I had a client recently who had been with her partner for a while and he had been emotionally and physically abusive to her.  She wanted to leave the state and take their child with her.

She wanted to know if she could just do that without letting the other parent know because there was no court order in place.  I always say in many of my videos that you have to consult the laws in your jurisdiction. 

 I don't know what the laws in your jurisdiction are because I have viewers from as far as Australia.  In cases where there has been emotional abuse or domestic violence if the other parentI has been involved with the life of the child to any extent, it is probably not a good idea to take the child and run.

 It seems like that would be the easiest thing to do in many situations. It would probably would be the safest thing to do for the parent and the child but in the long run it could really cause some heartache for you and the child if the other parent is left behind goes to court.

 One of the things the judge looks at in making a decision about what's best for the child whether one parent is more likely than the other to promote frequent and meaningful communication with the other parent, so in my mind the act of just taking a child and leaving the state or leaving the country shows that that parent may not be the one who's more willing to promote frequent and meaningful communication.

 There may be good reasons behind that but that's one of the factors that the judge looks at.  I had a client, in fact one of my first clients who did that.  He did it many years ago and the judge more than slapped his hand.  She really just smacked him down and what the judge ending up doing was giving the other parent decision making and more parenting time with the child.

 Every time my client returned to court to ask for anything for years, the judge slapped him down because she could never forget what he did.  Which was take the child without a court order.   Now the difference in that case is that there was not emotional abuse or domestic violence.  It was this one person who just took unilateral action.

 I say this so that you can understand that there really are channels or the right steps that you can take to ask the judge to do what you think is best for the child.  I know it is scary going to court because there is no guarantee what the judge is going to do.

 But if you don 't want to get punished for the rest of your child's minority years, then you really should look at the laws in your state and take the steps.  File whatever needs to be filed or send the other party notice in the way that the statute says you need to give the other party notice.

Now even if paternity hasn't been established because in some cases where the parties haven't been married and they share a child in common, the court hasn't made an order saying that that person is the dad.  But if you've been treating that person as the father and that person has been involved as the father, then you're going to have a hard time if you leave the state.

 If the father then files something in court, you could be forced to come back at best, and at worst you could have your child removed from your custody.  It's a difficult situation, I know.  And the judge is going to look at a whole bunch of factors.  But just take the right steps because what we are talking about is the best interest of the child.   And what's best is to probably not have the child removed from your custody.