When a marriage is breaking up, it’s not unusual that one spouse leaves the state with the kids. Sometimes the move is agreed upon by the other spouse, and sometimes it is not. If your spouse unexpectedly took the children out of state without your permission, you need legal help right away.
Have you realized that your spouse left the state with your kids or plans to leave soon? You may be feeling stressed, or overwhelmed about how to get your kids back. You may fear for your children’s wellbeing. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you can take action to address the situation now. Depending on the specific circumstances, your spouse’s actions could even affect his or her future custody rights.
What to Do When You Learn Your Spouse Is Leaving the State
If you just learned that your spouse plans to leave with your children, reach out to a divorce and child custody lawyer right away. You will likely want to file a request for custody with the court. When you are in the early stages of divorce or involved in a separation, you may not have a custody arrangement in place yet (formal or informal). Now is the time to get a formal request for custody on file. If you already have a formal custody agreement or parenting plan, you still need legal help to enforce its terms, which may prohibit one parent from taking the kids out of state without the other parent’s permission.
Depending on several factors, you even may have grounds to file an emergency request for custody. Emergency requests, which are heard by a judge quickly, give a parent the legal right to custody right away. These requests are appropriate in situations where children might be harmed or are being taken out of state to avoid court oversight. If you can show that your children may be in danger due to your spouse’s actions, you may be able to obtain emergency custody quickly. You also may get custody if you can show that your spouse is deliberately trying to avoid a North Carolina custody case. Your lawyer can prepare these requests for you and advise you on your legal rights.
If Your Spouse Already Left the State
You still have options if your spouse already left the state with the kids. First, discuss with your lawyer whether you have any options for other emergency requests regarding your children. You should also file a request for custody as described above or ask to enforce your existing custody order.
Next, talk to your lawyer about how to build your case for custody of the children. You may need to prove that your spouse took the kids out of state without your permission. You also may need to provide evidence regarding your children’s current living arrangements. For example, if the kids were living with you, but your spouse picked them up from school and left town, you could argue that moving out of state is not in the children’s best interest. Again, your lawyer can help you develop appropriate arguments to bolster your case. Don’t wait to seek legal help – a delay in seeking court intervention could create the appearance that you agreed to the move.
Could Your Spouse’s Sudden Move Affect Your Divorce?
The move could affect your divorce. If you are getting divorced now or plan to do so soon, custody arrangements may become one of the important issues involved in your divorce case. Make sure to provide your lawyer with any information relating to your divorce that could affect custody. For example, you may have signed a separation agreement that discusses child custody arrangements. Or your spouse might have moved during your separation to an apartment that is not suitable for your children to live in.
Your spouse’s actions could affect your separation and divorce in numerous other ways. You may have more difficulty contacting him or her after the move. If you need to serve him or her with divorce papers, you might need legal advice about how to do so in another state. When you did not consent to their move with the children, you may have a more difficult time agreeing on other divorce-related issues such as asset distribution or alimony. Your request for custody could influence your willingness to negotiate on other aspects of the divorce.
Protect Your Rights by Calling New Direction Family Law
If you are stressed because your spouse plans to move the kids out of state without your permission, the team at New Direction Family Law is available today to answer your questions. With decades of combined legal experience, our firm can knowledgeably, effectively, and compassionately help with your child custody issues. We will help you understand your legal rights and work hard toward your best outcome. Reach us at (919) 646-6561 to schedule a consultation, or visit us on our website.