Can I legally keep my son if there is no custody order?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2012

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Can I legally keep my son if there is no custody order?

I now out of state and have my child for the summer. I have learned that the child’s mother may not be the safest enviorment for the child. I plan on filing for custody but need to know if I can keep him with me til there is a court order. We were never married.

Asked on August 6, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were never married and there is no custody order in place, the mother is the legal guardian of the child. Although she consented to the out of state visit, if you do not reutrn the child it could be kidnapping.  However, if you intend on filing for cusitdy then you will file in the state where the child resides and that could be where you are if she is with you for the SUmmer and you are filing an emergency petition based upon your belief that returning her to her home state would cause imminent harm or danger.  Please, please seek legal help.  Good luck. 

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