If my 17 year-old daughter doesn’t want to live with her father and after he and I separate, can I take her with me without being charged?

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If my 17 year-old daughter doesn’t want to live with her father and after he and I separate, can I take her with me without being charged?

He has told me that if I take her with me he will go to the police and accuse me of kidnapping. She is 17 and there is a history of mental abuse. We mutually agreed to separate and divorce but I want to make sure that I won’t be taken to the police for saving my daughter. I have consulted other attorneys who said in CA and other states, I can take her with me because I am her mother and no matter what the cause for divorce is, I will not be liable. Can you please advice if true?

Asked on April 5, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Listen, what you need to do is to separate but first go and petition the court for custody of your daughter and the right to have her live with you.  In New York you can do this separate and apart from a divorce proceeding in the Family Court.  See if the courts in California allow this as well.  Your daughter is old enough that the court will take her testimony in to account.  She has to give a valid reason for wanting to live with you (and not because you are less strict tat her father) but the testimony as to mental abuse with specific examples should be enough.  And as long as you do not leave the state you should be fine.  Good luck to you. 


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