If my husband has anger issues and has been emotionally abusive towards myself and my son, when we’re visiting family out of state, is it OK for me to say that I want to stay and not come back with him?

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If my husband has anger issues and has been emotionally abusive towards myself and my son, when we’re visiting family out of state, is it OK for me to say that I want to stay and not come back with him?

I want a divorce but he threatened that if I filed for divorce, he would make my life miserable. We’re heading out of state in 2 months to visit my family. Can I technically leave the state with my son and stay iwith my family? Could I be accused of kidnapping?

Asked on October 6, 2015 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As long as there is no court order in effect regarding the custody of your children or a divorce that has been filed, you can legally take your children to another state and stay there. However, if your husband wants you to return with them, he can file for custody in your current state of residence. You would then have to come back and appear in court and let a judge decide the issue. If you fail to return, then at that point you could be charged with parental kidnapping. You could also hope that your husband doesn't file, or at least doesn't file immediately, then you could establish residency in your new state and file there. However, that could take 6 months or more, so the best thing to do at this point is to consult with an attorney in your area who specializes in custody cases. After hearing all of the details of your situation they can best advise you further.


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