Last Updated on August 11, 2023 @ 8:30 am

One of the most common questions we have in the Father’s Rights area of the law is what happens when a wife wants to move out of the house and take the children with her. People want to know the answer to this question more often than almost any other because father’s confronted with this situation are scared they will lose the right’s to their children. We’re here to let you know that father’s rights attorneys will fight for you but you must contact one immediately to protect your rights.

 So, What Are My Rights if She Threatens to Take Them?

Right off the bat, you need to tell her that she cannot take your children away from their house. She has no right to do so because as a married couple, both of you have the same legal rights to joint physical custody and joint legal custody to the kids (in some states, this may be called “allocation of parental responsibilities” – so be aware that means the same thing as custody). Tell her that she can leave the home and move, but she can’t take the children with her – and do so IN WRITING. Then, immediately contact a father’s rights attorney who will put the gears in motion on your behalf.

When one parent attempts to drastically alter the parenting time situation by leaving the house, it is often necessary to file an emergency petition with the court to stop her from doing so. This is especially true if your wife is threatening to take the kids far away – such as another state. You can’t wait for it to happen, you must act quickly or she will have the opportunity to settle in a new location, enroll the kids in a new school, and make the argument to the court that the kids are stable in their new environment – this must be quashed immediately.

Emergency Motions May Be Needed

Contacting an attorney in this situation means filing for divorce so that you can immediately file a motion or a petition for custody and possession of the children (what is also called the primary allocation of parental responsibilities and the parent with the majority of parenting time). Once the initial divorce is filed, it may be necessary to file an Emergency Motion to get in front of a judge within days. Some judges court schedules only allow you to appear for an initial court date weeks in advance, and then allow 21 or 28 days more for your wife or her attorney to respond to your motion. But an Emergency Motion will get you and your lawyer in front of a judge in days, and that may be the main wall against her taking off with the kids.

Another option, once the divorce and possibly an emergency motion is filed that you might take, is to file a motion that asks for you and the kids to have “exclusive possession of the marital residence.” This means that you are asking the court to enter a court order that states that you and kids are awarded (temporarily) the house live in and that your wife has to move out. This is how you protect your rights as a father, but you must act quickly and be precise.

Attempt to Get an Agreement – With Leverage

An experienced father’s rights attorney will immediately put together some type of parenting agreement and will try to find a compromise with your wife or her attorney regarding the custody of the children, a visitation / parenting time schedule, and a plan for who pays what when it comes to child support and any other expenses needed for the kids. Rather than simply going right in to war, a father’s rights lawyer knows that the battle needs to be fought from multiple angles – one of which is attempting to find a compromise. But, and this is the big one here – it is always best to negotiate from a position of strength. This means that your emergency motions, the petition for exclusive possession of the marital residence, and anything else that is filed can be used, before being ruled on by the judge, as leverage to force her into having a meaningful discussion and compromise. A good divorce lawyer will always tell you that coming to an agreement is often better than rolling the dice with a judge if possible.

What If My Wife Already Took My Kids?

Now is the time to act—you cannot wait even one day or you will put yourself at a serious disadvantage in the courts. If this just happened in recent days, get a father’s rights attorney who will immediately file an emergency petition for custody, visitation, parenting time, and a return of possession of the children. Waiting weeks or months damages your chances at gaining custody because the courts will not want to upset the new schedule that kids may have become accustomed to.

When a wife takes the kids – especially out of state – most judges view this as a refusal to work together and co-parent. When it comes to which parent should have primary parenting time or custody of the children, the courts in all 50-states use what is known as the “best interest of the child” standard. that is what it comes down to – what is in the best interest of the child. Every state uses many of the same or similar tests to determine this, and there are a lot of different tests, such as: each parents living arrangement; the health (mental and physical) of the child and of each parent; past and present involvement in the life of the child; any history of domestic violence, and one of the big ones – whether the parents can work together and cooperate to encourage a close and continuing relationship with the other parent. It is this factor that the judge will notice that your wife has attempted to ignore, so you must show that you are willing to facilitate a relationship and she is not.

Taking a Child Out of State

In many states, the process of taking kids out of state (usually called ‘removal’ or ‘relocation‘ – depending on the state) is not allowed without seeking a court order. When you file a Petition for Dissolution / Complaint for Divorce, what you have done is forced her to stay within a certain geographical boundary with the kids or she will have likely violated a provision within the law. This means that neither person should make any type of significant change to possession or ownership of large property, personal items, or even the residential location/state of the children.

For example, some metropolitan areas have even had the laws changed to be more restrictive than they were in the past. Illinois, for example, used to allow a parent with primary custody to move anywhere within the state. The laws were re-written in 1/2016 and placed a limit on where someone can move with the kids if they live in Cook County (Chicago) or surrounding counties. The limit was 25-miles – and the point of the limit was to stop one parent from moving 2-hours away from the other parent to make parenting time difficult for the other parent.

When a mom tries to remove the children from the state they are currently living, time is not on your side. Allowing the kids to be settled in another state is bad, but the first thing that you will be up against if you don’t act fast is the court viewing a father that waits months to file as if that father doesn’t really care. If it was so important, why didn’t the dad file in court sooner? Was making his truck payment on time more important than seeing his kids? This is what the court will initially view of the case. So, the most important thing to do if your wife leaves the state with the kids is to file quickly – any way you can. Sell your car, get a loan, do whatever you need to do to get in front of a judge immediately.

Act Fast – Get a Father’s Rights Lawyer

Every once in a while these things turn extremely ugly, and if this is the case, and you fear for the safety of your children, do not know where they are, or believe your wife may be attempting to leave the state that you live in, contacting the police is also a good idea. You have the right to know where your kids are and the right to have them live with you. Waiting is the number one reason father’s lose their custody cases. You cannot, in the eyes of the court, claim both: 1.) you want custody of your kids, AND 2.) but you waited for 5-months before filing to see them. Get started immediately by speaking with a father’s right lawyer who will fight for you and your family.

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46 thoughts on “Can My Wife Take My Kids Away From Me?”

  1. I think it is important to distinguish between what is Civilly Legal, Criminally Legal and what will actually be enforced.
    My wife (still married and in love with her) with severe mental illness (trying to get her in treatment), left our state same day with no warning. I contacted law enforcement immediately (with an hour of determining she had left). They performed an Attempt to Locate, they stopped her 2 states away the following evening and let her continue. The Sheriff said this is a civil issue. The following Monday (she left on Thursday) I tried to file a missing person as I didn’t know where my daughters were as my wife had left all their phones at home. I hired a lawyer and filed for an emergency custody order Wednesday (had to find the lawyers and submit the motion) The court took 5 calendar days to rule. So in about 10 days I had an emergency custody order. And so far that has meant Jack. The local Sheriff took 10 more days to take a missing person report. No one has had any contact with my daughters for 50 days, other than missing persons posters I can’t get law enforcement to do anything. With no location she can’t be served. So nothing is criminal so they can’t really help my find my wife and kids. So I have to wait two additional months before the court will schedule a hearing (Serve via publication 28 days, 30 days to respond). Then I can get full custody then the Sheriff will…. continue to publish posters. They are doing nothing to find them. I have PI’s and lawyer and we think they are with a domsetic violence shelter hiding them and she doesn’t have to prove any domestic violence to get help hiding my daughters from their entire family. And I have had to explain many times that no I have never hurt my wife or kids physically or mentally. No history of any kind and many character/history witnesses. But I hear “Why would she leave if there is no abuse” Not even acknowledging that she is a paranoid schizophrenic.

  2. My wife contacted DV Connect and made false allegations that I will harm my kids and her.I have never harmed them before and do not intend to in the future.I do not know where they are and she won’t contact me or let the kids talk to me. How can I get to see them ? No protection order or DVO in place.

  3. Well I’m a loser my ex ran off with my little girl this April will be 2 years a little girl was born with bilateral kidney disease she spent most of her life in chop Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia she also had Etonic hyperglycemic she ate through a G-tube I would do a 12 hour shift and so would the mother one day we had a little 10 minute bickering back and forth so I left the house I came back with coffee and when I got home she was gone with my child it’s took days for her to answer the phone tell me if she would not be back no more I cried so hard I fell into a depression to the point where I thought my heart was going to blow up instantly I wanted to commit suicide because I’m still in love with that baby girl and I was just coming off of heart surgery and at the time I wasn’t working to be quite honest with you I thought the courts would turn me into a piece of s*** dad before I can get on my feet because I was very sick still I just had major heart surgery I was trying to recover And the fact I come home and my child was going baby Social Security at the time of paying rent Michelle dealt with all that all I want to do is take care of the baby she was so beautiful she’s so fun to play with and I didn’t want to miss a moment of her life I should have probably moved out sooner Michelle wants to move on then I had to heart surgery and I didn’t want to leave my little girl so I know for a fact set everybody to try to make me leave or something I did not think she would run off with my little girl she would say things like that but I always thought she was bullshiting anyway cuz I wasn’t on the lease I was driving a truck at the time when she got the place at least you didn’t pay rent in three months either so this was planned so before I could digest my kid was gone right after the heart surgery I had to leave the place where I was staying you want to talk about a heartbreak so for the last two years I’ve been staying with my sister not wanted here show trying to find a job how to save time I have a clock ticking in my head that I had to hurry up and get out what’s half of how I ever see my baby girl again she’s so far out in the middle of New York State you know on top of that car dies so I was afraid to cause any issues for the baby because her insurance is through the state next time when she was conceived by job did not offer health insurance so I get scared to call the cops get anybody in or whatever what happened cuz I don’t want to ask for get in trouble I was just like to know this let her know she made a bad mistake and how she must need to feel how I feel but it was a baby losing their insurance where and the mother going to jail. I just wish there was a way to get them to move back to Pennsylvania it’s been too f****** years can I cry myself to sleep every night I hate myself that I let them go I did nothing I took care of that baby for 12 hours a day but God is with you because I didn’t have a job I thought you were able to turn me into a deadbeat dad and I won’t be able to see her anyway but I’m done with this fear is there any way he get hurt at the move back to the state just want her to know but that baby is mine as much as hers and she was a daddy’s girl and she needs her daddy I wish someone was just put the fear in God in her remind me to find my way back to my baby girl or I feel like I don’t have nothing else to live for may God have mercy on my soul to any father out there if your child is still with your wife or your ex and it child is closed do whatever you have to do don’t let them go it will keep you up at night and make you sick as a dog sorry about the long message thank you for letting me he’s some stuff on my chest sincerely Kevin Edwards

  4. Leigh Burton, Sr.

    Our Son’s Wife took their Son and moved to another state almost four months ago. Our Son does not want to take any legal action. She expects Him to take care of Here and where She is. He is working 12 and one half hrs five days a week. She has talked Him against Us. Any suggestions on how We can help Him?

  5. I am married 6 years. We have 3 young children. My husband is considering leaving the country(USA) after the election. (I DONT WANT TO GO!) He went to get passport paperwork. My questions are….if I willingly help fill out the paperwork just to keep the peace at the moment will that hurt me IF & WHEN he decides he wants to take the kids?! Or do I not fill out anything. I’m torn because it will start an absolutely war in this house if I don’t at least get the paperwork filled out. I know it’s a process to get the passports….and he cant go anywhere without them! What is best for me? Hes pretty adamant about leaving if it gets bad here after the election. Can anyone give me any insight?! Please!!

    1. If you do not want to leave and you do not want your kids to leave, you better tell him no and e prepared to file a divorce immediately. If he has passports and takes the kids, it is very likely no one will stop him before he is gone. Once that happens, depending on the country he moves to, it very likely could be extremely difficult or impossible to bring them back.
      The U.S. has a treaty, called the Hague Convention, that many countries are a member of and it deals with honoring family court orders, like this. However, most of those countries don’t actually put in the work needed to bring someone back – so it happens quite rarely.
      If a divorce case is pending, you could obtain a court order that forces him to turn over the passports and puts a notice to the State Department.
      Contact an expert custody attorney immediately.

  6. So this happened…
    2010 – Fiance & I both working full-time in US; originally from India. In August 2010 we planned a small “temple” wedding in india. Wife missed bringing her ID proof so marriage was not registered at the time.
    2012 – Los Angeles County – we decided to register the marriage & obtained a marriage-license. We needed this because wife’s India passport about to expire in 2012 and needed renewal – and there’s a “box” for spouse-name on the passport. With no other “proof”, we would have had to leave it blank – which we didn’t want to leave blank.
    2013 – My US project ends and I plan grad-school in Australia (to start in 2014). Return to India and serve a 3-month notice-period. Wife worked with a “prominent + MAJOR” American Bank (at Charlotte, NC) – so continued living in the US.
    2014 – WIfe’s US Visa runs-out and she returns to India. Few months later, my grad-school starts in Australia
    2015 – Apply Permanent-Resident for family (wife, myself & my widow mother). Doing grad-school, burning through all my savings, and close-to-zero income (at Australia) – wife is full-time IT professional in India. Wife “insists” on baby (biological “clock” ticking + she was diagnozed PCOS and underwent surgery)
    2016 – Australia PR Visa granted for family – brief 2-week trip to “activate” the Visa (because, if the family does not travel within 6 months of Visa-Grant, the grant would lapse). Wife’s fertility treatments not working – but causing lot of stress for entire family and physical pain for her. End-2016 – I commence gainful employment at Australia after grad-school completion. Bring my mother to Australia – but wifey won’t budge from India (her cousins run a hospital + a pharmacy – so great contacts).
    2017 – IVF failure followed by IVF success. Baby scheduled to arrive May 2018.
    2018 – Make arrangements (WFH) with manager and spend 3 months in India. Baby boy is born. Check with wife on her plans to join the family in Australia. No clear response – and trying her best to not commit.
    2019 – Wife claims she is unable to talk on the phone due to baby – and slowly we reduce communication. Repeat the request for her future-plan to join me in Australia. Met with same-old deafening silence. Right from 2018: wife shares photos + videos like the bourgeois throw alms to beggars. Expects me to be on my hands & knees begging for photo + video. Flat-out said “No” when I asked for applying dependent-visa for the infant. She needs to sign a No-Objection-Certificate (as part of Australia’s Immigration Department’s policy requirements).
    2020 – COVID-19 – job-lost, living on govt-welfare, wife still in India, never got to have a relationship with my infant,
    Additional notes: I’ve known my wife from 2003 and we have had CLOSE-TO-ZERO arguments our entire lives. If she wants something, I agree – and if I want something she agrees. If we want opposite things – we almost-always find a reasonable-compromise. Both of us are engineers and rational-thinking, logic has always been valued by both.
    Realistically: can any of the legal systems (US where our marriage was registered, India where our child was born, or Australia where our family have Permanent-Resident Visas) deliver justice to a father? A father who never got the chance to bond with his 2 year old (for the entire 2 years of the child’s life). A father who was affected by Covid-19 & lost his job. A father who remains steadfast to support his widow, ailing mother.
    Answer: NOPE. Not one of these legal systems can deliver justice.

    For all future fathers & would-be husbands: If you want a justice system where you could have a fighting-chance: go to either Saudi Arabia or Iran or one of the other nations with Shariah Law. That is your best-bet. Even there: you need to marry with a family who have lesser political clout & influence than you.

    If you ain’t from a powerful Muslim family, just don’t have high hopes of bonding with your kid/s – and it doesn’t matter if you’ve known your wife/girl-friend/partner for 7 years or 17 years. The western/democratic legal systems have set-up policies which will always be anti-men. PERIOD.

  7. Hi on the 26th my wife took my 1 year old daughter and 5 year old stepson from colorado to nc without my knowledge or permission. I know where she is and I am filling for emergency custody on tuesday the 7th. Did I wait too long? I was in shock for the 1st week but now I know what to do. Is that illegal what she did and do you think I have a chance at getting emergency custody? She said nothing about leaving did it while I was at work and 2 days later told me she is done with me.

  8. My son’s wife left him to another state. She is living with her parents. My son found a lawyer. She left in June and in August he filed a petition for dissolution in court. The court denied it. Then this late Friday he had to go before the courts through zoom, she had a mediator and he had a lawyer. She got temporary custody of the 2 children. He gets to see them every other weekend and 3 hours the next week. I don’t understand why his court thing was denied. He wanted equal time with the children, every other week for the whole week. They are 2 1/2 and 18 months.

  9. Christy Rodriguez

    We have been forced to live with my MIL for the past three years. She is a control freak, nosy, extremely rude, emotionally abusive, threatened to punch my “teeth out, b***h!”, disregards my parenting authority, tells my son I’m a bad mom and that I don’t love him, tried to put me in a mental hospital to separate me from “her grandson”, overall treats me worse than her dog, picks up my son whenever she wants, buys him a ton of toys after I told her to stop, cries like a 5 year old if he’s not wearing one of the 30 outfits she buys for him every day, tells me I can’t take “her grandson” out of the house just me, called cps just because, calls the police whenever I say she can’t hold him after an insult, basically tells me I can’t make any decisions for “her grandson”. Am I legally allowed to tell this monster that she can’t come near me or touch my son? Please I’m desperate!

  10. Luyanda Trevor Dladla

    I am not married yet but I have a son with the most irresponsible woman ever, she has been sleeping with other man’s maybe it because of Money , I am not that kind of person who has all the money but I try by all means that my son get something monthly but what she do?? Nothing so I was wondering if I couldn’t take my son away from her because she might be a bad influence??? Can you help me??

  11. i am in the exact same situatiuon except i am a citizen i even found the shelter they are at and took them things they need. i cant stand this system and im ready almost to do something crazy. if this is not “abuse” then what is?

  12. Mouandjo Liberte Louison

    My wife as of Sunday left our old residence for a new one with our 14 months old son but refused to tell me where they are heading. I asked her for the new address to know where our son resides but also to ensure that I can send her documents for legal action. She is refusing to divorce and her response to my request was that she cannot tell meas she is going to a safe house.

    1. I found my wife cheating on me
      With some guy
      I am in leaving relationships
      Since 8 years
      We have 1 boy ? he is 2 years
      At this moment she trying to live her self and she even don’t work
      But I don’t want her to take my baby ? with her caz she never cook or feed my baby ? is there any possibility to get my baby back ?

  13. Me and wife can’t agree and I have been separated last 2 weeks. And my wife doesn’t want show me my child’s. I got 2 child 3.5 years and near 2 years. I would like to see them regularly and make sure there are fine but she isn’t want. What I need to do see my kids now. She have a bad habit little argument she keep calling police and telling lie about me. If I wanna go home and see kids definitely she will call police 🙁

  14. My wife is telling me that she is moving to West Virgina from our current residence in California, with all 4 of my children, ages 5-12 yrs. I can not leave due to my job and career is here in SoCal, and my job does not have another facility near her families residence in West Virgina. I dont want to lose my children, and I dont necessarily want to divorce her either, but I most definitely can not watch my children leave. What options do I have as the father?

  15. My friends wife took their daughter who was 2 and she was also pregnant with their son she went to another state with them to visit her parents, when she didn’t come back like she said she was he went there for the birth of their son, he has a job here and can’t go live with her parents as they don’t want him in their home it’s been 6 months and she isn’t coming back he wants a divorce but also wants to see his kids she says he can only see them at her parents house for an hour a week but she lives 6 hours away, what can he do? He also doesn’t have much money and has been giving her money for the kids

    1. Please advise my wife want to move out from the house with my daughters
      And I m not agree she take my daughter at 7 years
      So please advice me

      1. May name Jalel my wife want to move and take my daughter with her I’m not agree for she take my daughter and the first raison Safty issus the corona so I don’t know where she move her
        And my daughter have every think at home and is not good for child to dostroy her nest
        Please advice
        What is the legal Rigth to keep my daughter with me

        1. Nicholas Baker

          I many states, a parent has the right to do many things with a child while married. The best way to defend against her moving far away and taking the kids is to immediately file a petition for dissolution in court.

          All states are different, but there most likely will be what is called “an automatic stay” regarding minor children where the law has language that, once a divorce is filed, most things must remain ‘status-quo’ until the court can decide these contested issues.

          Moving a child out of state is normally called either “removal” or “relocation” (again, depending on your state), and it likely carries with it the express provision that requirements need to be fulfilled such as notice, the filing of a motion or petition for removal / motion for relocation of a minor child, or similar court pleading. (An example of what the law looks like in many states can be found here, Notice of Relocation – Contents and Delivery RCW 26.09.440 – but this is specific the State of Washington)

          However, if a dissolution of marriage is not filed, there isn’t much, if anything, that can be done to stop her.

          The most common issue is that people get into when removal or relocation is a threat is to wait too long to do something to stop it. In many states, it is even possible to bring the person back, even if only temporarily, for a court to decide. But, where it gets to be a problem is when a parent has moved with the child, established a new life (as in school started, a new job, etc. This makes it more difficult to turn the child’s life upside down again.
          But if done fast – as in days/weeks, will likely get the child back.

          The biggest problem is when a parent waits months to file (and there may be really good reasons, like not knowing where the person is, not having money to hire a lawyer, thinking the parent and child are coming back soon, etc.). When this happens, the Judge will not view it quite the same as you do – they will view it from this perspective – “if this child was sooo important to this parent, why did they wait 3-months? 6-months? Obviously they don’t care enough or they would have moved heaven and earth to get this started sooner!

          That is the perspective you need to worry about with the judge – whether right or wrong – because the judge, if he or she looks at it that way, will not make a decision in your favor.

          The best thing you can to do fight the removal of a minor child / relocation of a minor child by your wife is to file for divorce immediately, and then immediately have a special process server serve her with the petition for dissolution, a summons, and then an emergency motion to stop the removal / relocation of your child. Can this be done on your own without a lawyer (we call this “pro-se”)? Yes, it can, but it is dangerous and likely to fail because of the steps that need to be taken and that need to be done extremely fast.
          Your best plan is to hire an experienced divorce attorney and let him or her know that you need a petition for dissolution filed an an emergency motion and you need to do whatever you can to get the money together to pay for this – now. That might mean a loan, an advance, getting rid of your $600/month car payment, selling your tv, etc. But you need to do this today, because the longer you wait, the worse your chances get at succeeding.

  16. A woman doesn’t go to the police or a woman’s shelter for no reason.

    Clearly something happened for her to take action.

    1. That’s a complete lie. It’s the equivalent of saying all women are incapable of committing crime. Wake up, new studies show that judges and juries are ill equipped to ascertain correctly that a woman is guilty of crime, because of their emotional color and the subconscious effect created in our brains by our mothers.

    2. Really Michael??

      Manipulation – Social Manipulation and an opportunity to control the dialogue can be the reason. Humans are humans and women are human, too. They also understand social situations, including how people perceive something like this. Think about what you just said and how much a person could gain if they knew this is exactly what everyone will believe. By taking them to a woman’s shelter, everyone just assumes something horrible must have happened to her and the children, and because it is impolite to pry, no one really delves into it. This way, she gets a way better chance of having full custody, has a head start on divorce proceedings, gains more control over custody and divorce proceedings, is able to protect her name, receives ongoing community support (money, shelter, clothes, etc.), and is viewed as a heroic survivor.

      If she’s already planning on leaving, or if she’s afraid she’s about to be left, why wouldn’t she?

    1. The first question is whether the father of the children has established paternity. If there was never a court case filed for anything, child support or custody, this is difficult. A birth certificate is often not enough to establish paternity, what is required is a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (known as a ‘VAP’) that is signed most of the time in the hospital or shortly thereafter when a child is born to unwed parents. With this VAP, or similar form, paternity is established and an emergency motion can be filed with the court asking her to return and submit to jurisdiction.
      We have treaties signed with a number of countries dealing with child custody matters known as the Hague Convention (link to this here) and the federal government, with court order, can ask that a foreign government get involved to bring that person and the children back to America.
      This is a big deal though, and does not happen as often as it should since many countries are not members of the treaty and the ones that are many times simply don’t do anything about it anyways.
      This is not to say you shouldn’t do something about it – you should – and you should do so immediately. If you wait 6-months, a year, or more, you will have likely forfeited any good argument you have for dragging them all back here, so it is essential that you do all in your power to do something now. Start by calling our team of expert child custody attorneys and get your family back.

  17. So my wife left me earlier didn’t say a word took my son and daughter with her to a inpatient rehab she’s been struggling with Pain killers is it legal she went out of state and I don’t know where this rehab is

    1. For the most, part, the answer is no. More info would need to be provided to really give you a more detailed answer, so probably best to give our team a call and get in to the exact situation we’re talking about here. This type of case definitely needs an experienced father’s rights attorney that specializes in child custody matters.
      The initial details that would be needed would be the following:
      1. What is the current status of parenting time (visitation) you have with your kids;
      2. How long has this current visitation status been going on;
      3. Is there a divorce already filed or not;
      4. How long ago did she move out of where you two were living;
      5. Is there any parenting plan entered by any court; and
      6. How long ago did she leave the state?

      For the most part, the general rule is that you cannot leave the state while a divorce/custody proceeding is ongoing unless the Court gives a parent explicit rights to do so. That does not sound like the situation presented here. One of the other most important questions is also how often do you have parenting time and when did she leave the state.
      These are important, so lets discuss some typical scenarios:

      A. Current parenting time: Let’s say you don’t have much time with the kids, and haven’t really been able to (she’s been denying you access to them) for awhile now, say, 3-months to a year. The court is not going to say “well then take the kids that you haven’t seen in a year and that’s how we’ll punish mom.” But, the courts are also probably not going to say, “she can do whatever she wants since you haven’t been around for _____ months/years.” It would likely be somewhere in the middle.

      B. Current parenting time: Let’s say you have been seeing them weekly or even for a couple overnights every other week (like every other weekend) for parenting time and visitation. This has been going on for 3-12 months, and then, a month ago, she stopped and moved to the rehab/out of state last month. This will be VERY different – and a judge will most certainly yank her back. HOWEVER, keep in mind that the judge will always do what is “in the best interests of the minor children.” So, if that means coming back, so be it. If it means stay for rehab and then come back, maybe that happens too. The vast majority of the time, when a parent has been actively in the kids life, the judges will make the other parent come back to the state fairly quickly – but there are always exceptions.

      C. How long ago did she leave the state? Let’s say she left the state 3-weeks ago. Now you file an emergency motion to bring her back, and show that you have been involved in the kids lives up until she left without any notice to you at all. This was a quick response by you and the judge will likely take that into account and will help your situation on getting the back.

      D. How long ago did she leave the state? Now let’s say she left the state 3-6 months ago, and now you are filing an emergency motion in court to bring the kids back. IT doesn’t matter what the reason for the delay is (not enough money to get to court, hire a lawyer, etc.). If you wait 6-months before asking a judge to bring your kids home, the first question the judge will ask is this: If they are so important to you that you want to disrupt mom getting healthy and getting the help she needs to be a good parent again, and if she is such a danger to the kids (taking pills and all), why did you wait 6-months before coming here? – THAT question is the killer for someone in your situation and HAS to be avoided at all costs. So that might mean filing your own emergency motion to return the kids to the state if you can’t afford an attorney – but you must do something, anything, and it must be done NOW. That emergency motion and subsequent order can probably be served to her last known address, via email, maybe to her parents house even – just to show some type of notice to her so she cannot say she did not know about it.
      Whatever you do, act now. Waiting too long will be destroy your chances of getting the kids back.

  18. My son, his wife and 3 month old just moved back to Ohio from Colorado. He just got a new job and she’s home with the baby. She is in the process of being diagnosed with MS…she went home to visit her parents last week and was supposed to come home in a few days…she now says she has an appointment with a specialist in November that she is staying to see…that’s a month away…my son suspects she’s not going to come back at all…her mother was very upset when they decided to move…which he suspects is being the influence on her to stay….is there anything he can do to get the baby into his custody?

  19. I’m so lost right now, I ve been married for 13 years, I have 3 kids , 1 biologically mine , I raised the other 2 since they were babies, I consider them all mine equally, recently iv e been arrested for domestic violence, arguing, and breaking her phone, because the infidelity in are marriage, she was even let go of her last job because she was fraternizing with inmates, she did a order of protection on her and the kids ,so I appealed it, and she never showed up, so they dropped it , I’m in the process of filing for divorce, but I want to see my kids , how do I do it if I’m not allowed to go to my house or contact her in any way , it’s very frustrating, all I want to do is see my kids, please help me

  20. Hello,
    I have question,
    My wife is from peru and she does not like the US she has her greencard and I do not want to go to peru she wants to take my daughter away with her and leave my son with me but I do not want her to take my daughter away. What should I do?

  21. my wife take my children away with my permission for two weeks for holidays but she said she will not return to Canada, in London. I talk to lawyer. the case win. they will back to Canada. I agree to give to stay in the house and pay the morgege and childerens expences $1000 month for 6 months .and I will be away from the house.She acuse me some other reson. these are the one I agree to the London court, Is it can change the law after she come back to Canada how can I see my children

  22. My ex has threatened me and has taken personal property away from me although I already agreed for her to have everything out of the home. She also took my camera with 300+ pictures of my kids. I don’t have any memories of them and now she has run off with the kids and I don’t know where they are at. My heart is heavy and broken because all I want is to see my kids.

    Everything that has happened is all my fault. I would do anything to have my kids back in my arms and yet the lawyers and authorities will not allow me to find out where she has gone because they say I am mentally unfit as a father. That I have too many medical issues and I do not deserve to have my kids let alone talk to them or at least hold them close.

    I am so depressed at this moment and nobody wants to help at all. I just want my kids. I love them like no other and I just want them to be okay. I fear that my only son will act out and be subjected to years of pain because I am not around. There is nobody that cares to help a veteran whose biggest screw up is texting a woman.

  23. Dominique Lucero Johnson

    If my ex is wanting my kids papers to obtain a house while they are with me can she do that? how do I go about this??

  24. My children were with for 8 years , she started cheating by meeting others on dating websites whilst I was at work, when I question she absconded with children that was cared by my parents and me. Reports made to Docs did nothing Docs do not understand the children have been ripped of from all their contacts. The mother who told lies after lies and is collecting centre link benefit for the sake of having children. Where is child safety now . She have all this photos of her and her lover on Facebook where are children, she never cook, wash or bath the children it was my duty with the support of my familty.

  25. My friend’s wife took their daughter with her to (out-of-state) in 2013. He spends virtually all his meager earnings traveling back and forth to see his daughter and sends the rest as unofficial child support which he believes he has to pay but wants to contribute to his daughter’s financial well-being anyway. Is it too late to do anything now that 3 years have gone by? I think she’s playing him like a fiddle but he can’t see it.

  26. Oh my god! Please help me. I have called a couple attorney offices and they are busy until the 3rd. I need help now. My wife took our daughter and is leaving the state. Help!!!

  27. This is so aggravating.
    The wife runs into a woman’s shelter with the children.
    She has abducted the children from the home.
    There is/was no legal domestic violence.
    This is/was no legal child abuse.
    There is/was non-legal abuse by the wife, and false twisted claims of non-legal abuse by the husband.
    The police don’t care, except to refer Child Protective Services to investigate, because nothing has legally been violated except the father’s right to raise his child in the family home.
    Child Protective Services investigation will take a month or two… all the while the father never gets to parent his child in the family home.
    The women’s shelter doesn’t care… they side with the woman, even though she is the non-legal abuser. (Means she behaved abusively to the husband per the woman’s shelter’s non-legal definitions of abuse.)
    The lawyer and courts are slow… so while they crawl along… the father still doesn’t get to parent his child in the family home.
    For the sake of immigrant step-children involved, the father is only trying to establish “custody” with a SAPCR… not with divorce which would mess up immigration for the other children. (The child common to husband/wife is already a citizen.)
    I’m into my 3rd week of waiting.
    Even if I find the “hidden shelter”… I can’t go there without further false accusations being thrown against me, and I couldn’t even take my child back to the family home without being charged with kidnapping and falsely accused of abuse.
    The whole situation is ridiculous, and all everyone can say is… find a lawyer.

    In recap… the shelter assists wife with the abduction of the child by sheltering and hiding them… the police do nothing except get CPS involved… the lawyers and courts are slow… and the father in the family home has lost his child… and no one cares.

    1. I went/am going through the same. It’s been over three years and no one wants to help. In the meantime, money is being thrown at lawyers who can do little nothing after a certain point.

      1. Agreed. Going on 2 years here and I don’t think lawyers have our interests at heart – just the money. They definitely do NOT have the children’s concerns at heart. Had an agreement written up and signed by the courts. She moved out of state. WHAM! Another child custody negotiation. Admittedly, I was the one that cheated (but like my wonderful new wife says – if she was doing everything a good wife should, cheating wouldn’t even cross your mind). So I think as far as the marriage goes we were both at fault for not being in it. But the children are a different issue. After the new papers, had mediation. Thought there was some progress. Nope – new papers issued in the same case (which going on year 1 now) have rolled back all the compromises in mediation. Thought the holidays were nailed down, just had to hash out summers. Nope. even less days with my kids than what was discussed in mediation. Went from 2 weeks at a time to 4 days every other year. Went from the original agreement out of her state with almost full summers to now 2 weeks in the summers. The kicker — because of health issues at a young age, she’s claiming things like I am “unemployed” and that since I have on-going issues that might require medical attention, she claims I can’t be alone with the kids. Worst of all, my new wife had her own demons in her past and she is using all of that against both of us (even though she sought treatment and is doing well). Add to that the fact that somehow the oldest has now developed “learning disabilities” and “self-harms” himself and it just showed up (her was here recently and we saw NONE of what she and her doctor describe – two months later it’s an issue??). I actually think she’s the problem with the kids. They expressed how different I am now, than when I was with the ex. They like seeing me happy and able to spend time with them and laughing (and yes my health issues limit my activities, but I am happier). I think the ex is so messed up inside that the kids are manifesting under her. Can’t prove it. Just a feeling. I wish someone would help (like a lawyer) but since I have health issues, I am on disability (which she get the kids benefits – yet has the balls to say I don’t pay child support – that part makes me mad – because who does she think worked his ass off all those years to even have benefits??? She didn’t work). Can’t afford the lawyers. My family dished out for the first agreement (because I got sick shortly after the split). Her family is funding this round. Out of state makes it even more difficult. It’s just gone from saying I have issues, the new wife had issues, and I am on disability to mediation to she wants me to have supervised visits, but only at my parent’s house 4 hours away two times a year for like 15 days total. The only thing to come out of this on my end – I don’t believe in a good God anymore. Whatever His plans – He doesn’t care about children rights and what they may want to do, or what might be in their best interests. He’s let money and lawyers rule the world and he who has neither, has nothing. Sorry I am not Job. Don’t expect me to react like him.

    2. In the same situation right now. The women’s shelter even helped her find a house, moved all my property(I paid for every single thing in that home) to her new place. I don’t know where she lives with the kids, even if I do, what am I going to do? Stalk her?
      This situation is fucked up! Just a lil disagreement, I went to work and she has ran to the shelter with kids. It’s over 3months now, here I am wondering if anyone gives a fuck about fathers/men?!?!

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