If my wife took our son and drove away to another state without my consent, how do I proceed?

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If my wife took our son and drove away to another state without my consent, how do I proceed?

Is this kidnapping?

Asked on June 29, 2015 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Has a divorce been filed? Is there any kind of court order regarding custody? If there are, then your wife can be held in contempt and could possibly be charged with parental kidnapping. However, if nothing has been filed or there are no stanig order, then she was free to leave the state with your child. She did not need your permission to do so.

If she has gone for just a quick visit somewhere, there really isn't much that you can do, unless you feel that your child is in danger. In that case you could request an emergency hearing. However, if she left for an extended visit or a permanent move, then you can file for a custody hearing in your home state. At that point, she would have to return or could face a charge of parental kidnapping. And the fact is that you should act first. If she is allowed to establish residency in the state in which she is now in, she could file there (it typically takes about 6 months).

At this point, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in custody cases. They can advise you further.


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