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

Answers:

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.


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