If my wife took our son and drove away to another state without my consent, how do I proceed?

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2015

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If my wife took our son and drove away to another state without my consent, how do I proceed?

Is this kidnapping?

Asked on June 29, 2015 under Family Law, New York


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Has a divorce been filed? Is there any kind of court order regarding custody? If there are, then your wife can be held in contempt and could possibly be charged with parental kidnapping. However, if nothing has been filed or there are no stanig order, then she was free to leave the state with your child. She did not need your permission to do so.

If she has gone for just a quick visit somewhere, there really isn't much that you can do, unless you feel that your child is in danger. In that case you could request an emergency hearing. However, if she left for an extended visit or a permanent move, then you can file for a custody hearing in your home state. At that point, she would have to return or could face a charge of parental kidnapping. And the fact is that you should act first. If she is allowed to establish residency in the state in which she is now in, she could file there (it typically takes about 6 months).

At this point, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in custody cases. They can advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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