If I am a father and I would like a divorce, canI take my son with me?

I am a married father of a 8 year old boy. My marriage is a mess and I want to leave my house but I want to take my boy with me. The kid gets along better with me than his mom. I want to divorce but in the meantime I want to leave my house and go to another state. There can I ask for full custody? Do I have to call police and let them know? Could I do that? What are the chances that I will win my case?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Family Law, Washington


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The best thing to do is to immediately talk to and consult with a divorce attorney in the state in which you currently reside. The problem of moving to another state is it could cause your wife to file charges of kidnapping against you (even though it would be baseless) and you may not have residency quickly enough in the new state to file for divorce there. Talk to a lawyer and your best approach may be to take your son, move out but somewhere so he is still in the same school district so there is no interruption in his schooling and friendship circle and after school activities and consider filing for immediate legal separation while filing for divorce. Your other choice is to consider counseling while you attempt to repair the marriage, which can show the court your willingness to do what is best for the child should the counseling not work, it may be bonus points in your favor for your willingness to do it. You can certainly ask for full custody but keep in mind that unless this is an abuse or neglect situation in the eyes of the law, the mother has just as much right to full or joint custody as you do.

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.