Are there any circumstances where I would legally be able to move my children out of state?

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Are there any circumstances where I would legally be able to move my children out of state?

I live with a verbally and physically abusive husband. I don’t have my own income right now, and don’t have any family here. I want to move to Virginia to be with my family (I live in Missouri now) and live with them so I can support my kids. My husband barely pays the bills, and now the landlord is threatening to evict us if we don’t get caught up on rent.

Asked on November 21, 2012 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Since there is no custody order yet in effect, you have the legal right to move out of state and take your children with you. However, your husband can go to court and file for custody in your current state. In theory, you can file for custody in your new state but only after you have established residency there (typically it takes 6 months). In the meantime, if your husband files first, you can be forced to return with the children. If you don't, you could be charged with parental kidnapping.

The best thing for you to do is to file for custody now before you leave. If the court finds that a move is in the children's best interests, you will be awarded temporary custody and once you file for divorce a final custody order will be awarded.

In the meantime, if your husband is being physically abusive to you and/or your children, you can go to court and request an order of protection. This will result in his being rmoved from your home. You can then file for custody and, hopefully, within a short time relocate to be with your family.


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