Monday, December 17, 2012

My wife threatened to take our two kids and move to her parents house which is out-of-state. No lawyers as yet. Can she do that?

Q: I had an affair and we are seeing a marriage counselor but last night we got into a big fight and she made a lot of accusations and said if I left her then she would take the kids and move to Connecticut to her parents house. We own a house together in New York, our son is 6 and is in school in New York and my 3 year old daughter is in day care in NY. My wife has a full-time job in New York. I am currently living in the house and we are trying to work on a separation while we seek counseling but the situation is unbearable. What are my options? Thanks you! 

David’s answer: If there are no court orders of custody, then the law sees both of you as the "de facto" custodial parent. Judges usually frown on parents engaging in a literal "tug-of-way" with the children, and thus may frown on her taking the children far away, perhaps even ordering her to return the children to the marital residence pending a fuller hearing on the issue of temporary custody. All that said, your next move should be to file for divorce & also file a motion restraining her from leaving the marital residence with the children. If you allow her to do so & do not do anything about it, you'll already be behind the "8-ball" in the custody case itself.  -- David Bliven

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