If my son wants to leave his wife and bringhis children out of state, can he do this without penalty?

UPDATED: Sep 9, 2011

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If my son wants to leave his wife and bringhis children out of state, can he do this without penalty?

They are married but not happily. His wife is mentally ill, refuses to take her meds properly, misses appointments and will not see a therapist as advised by her physician. Neither will she agree to marriage counseling. The stress is now causing physical as well as mental injury to my son and the children. The children are afraid of her and have had behavior problems in school. Even though her mother says that he has to make a stand and leave we fear that they will fight for custody if he files for divorce. He’s lost the love of a wife he still cares for. He cannot lose his children as well. He want to leave UT and come to a more stable enviornment with us in AZ.

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Family Law, Utah


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation that has resulted from her condition.  Although I do think that the children would benefit from a stable environment and your help, I would urge him NOT to leave the state of Utah unless he has an order allowing him to do so.  He needs to go to court and obtain temporary custody of the children citing his wife's inability to care for them.  He is going to have to ask the court to declare her an unfit parent, something that is very difficult legallyand emotionally.  Those with mental illness often take their medications, feel better, then feel that they can handle their illness with out the meds.  It is a vicious cycle.  You yourself state that she is a good woman.  She was just dealt a bad hand.  But she still has rights with regard to her children and seeing them.  So have your son get an attorney to discuss his options.  Good luck to everyone. 

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