How long can a mother take her child out-of-state for without getting into trouble?

UPDATED: Jan 2, 2011

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How long can a mother take her child out-of-state for without getting into trouble?

I live in NJ and yesterday I took my 17 month-old daughter with me when I came to NY. My husband and I have been having problems for a long time, and I just wanted to be away from him for a while. I told him that I was going over to my sister’s house for a while. He locked the door and wouldn’t let me and my daughter leave. I called the cops and one of them said that if I stayed more than couple of weeks, it would be kidnapping and I would get into trouble. I don’t want to go back yet for so many reasons. Would I get into trouble? Legally, how long can I stay away from him? Since it involves my baby would I be charged with anything? Can my husband call the cops on me and take my baby away?

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Family Law, New Jersey


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  I know that it seems that New York and New Jersey are in some ways interchangeable and that the suburbs of New Jersey are really an extension of the City, but in fact they are separate states and taking your daughter and crossing state lines can indeed et you in to a good deal of trouble should your husband decide to go that route.  Heed the advice of the police officer, although I do not think that there is a magical number that anyone can give you. Your intent is what will count.  In other words, if you intend to not return to your home state of New Jersey.  You can not keep your daughter from her Father.  You will run in to serious legal problems.  Try consulting an attorney as soon as you can.  Good luck. 

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 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.

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