Can I report my wife leaving the state with our child without my consent as parental kidnapping?

I live in MA and my daughter lives with her mom in NY. I often pick her up during vacations from school. Now her mother wants to move to FL without my consent. She even bought the plane tickets behind my back; she will be leaving in 1 week. Is it possible that I can report it as a parental kidnapping? May I add that we were in court before for a child custody case 2 years ago but we settled out of court, however no papers were signed. If no parental kidnapping can be charged, can I file for a re-opening of the custody case once again? What can I do? She won’t even have her own place, she will be living with a friend and the house will be crowded.

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I think that it is time for you to get an attorney and to do so really quickly.  You can bring a very fast action to stop her from removing the child from New York.  But what will have a bearing on all of this is the formal custody and visitation order or settlement agreement that you made prior to divorcing or living apart.  Were you given joint custody and was there a set visitation schedule? Courts do not like it when one parent makes it difficult for another parent to see their child.  But if there was none then maybe it is time that you considered setting things in stone.  Although I do think that since the child lives in another state already and there is nothing set in stone that you could ask maybe that the court make her mom pay for the plane fares every vacation.  That might deter her.  Also, you can always try and gain custody if you think that the place she is moving would not be in the child's best interest, which is the standard used.  Good luck.

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