If I am married, can I legally take my 2 children and move to another state?

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If I am married, can I legally take my 2 children and move to another state?

I want out of my marriage but need to move to another state to be with family who will support and help me get back up on my feet. Where I want to go is only 3 hours from were I live now and I do not want to keep my children away from their father. Is there any way legally that I can take my children and move before the divorce even if he is against me moving? What are my options at this point, when I have no were else to go?

Asked on August 22, 2011 Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Since there is no court order in affect, you can take your children out-of-state.  However, their father could go to court in MS and obtain an order which will require you to return with them.  If you fail to do so, you could be charged with parental kidnapping. The factof the matter is that the best way for you to obtain legal custody is for you to go to court first. You can get a temporary custody order from the court (a permanent order will be issued at such time as a divorce is finalized).  In deciding whether or not you can then move out-of-state, the court will consider "the bests interests of the child" in making its determination. If the parent who will have custody of the children is moving for no purposeful reason, the court will more than likely deny the move. However, if the custodial parent must re-locate for work, to have better access to medical facilities for a sick child, to be near a family support system (your case), etc. the court is more likely to grant the move.

Note:  You could file in court after you have obtained residency in your new state. But that typically takes around 6 months and your husband could go to court in MS in the meantime. 


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