Can my ex keep my son from me? Ive had my son on my own since he was 2. Hes turning8 this year. We lived in maryland but moved ro california when he was 2. His father and i always verbally made agreements and never did anything in the court's over custody. I would send him to visit for summers. Back in october i had to go back to maryland for a few months where his father luves2 and allowed my sons father to enroll him in school because he lived in a better area. When it was time for me to go back to california in january we agreed to let my son stay and finish the 3 months in school there and i purchased a plane ticket a few months ago. Now that its two weeks away for his return his father is keeping him and said hes going to have custody of him. Since we have never been to court the only papers i have stating i am the custodial parent are from child support. Would i be able to take my son from maryland with out problems with law?
1 Answer from Attorneys
If there are no existing court orders regarding custody, there is nothing either of you can legally do to stop the other from transporting the child between MD and CA. Unfortunately for you, however, you may have granted MD courts jurisdiction over any custody dispute. Under nation-wide uniform child custody and jurisdiction laws, once a child has resided for six months in a state, that state has jurisdiction over any custody case unless there is already a pending case in another state that has established jurisdiction. It is possible that the child support proceedings in California are enough to establish prior jurisdiction in California. If not, however, the MD courts would have the power to order you to return the child to MD until custody is decided, at least in an interim order pending a full trial or hearing, and CA courts would enforce that order. So you REALLY need to talk to a lawyer in person RIGHT AWAY about this and make sure to preserve CA jurisdiction if it somehow still exists. The good news is that if CA jurisdiction DOES still exist, then that would give you the right to obtain a CA order that the child be returned pending proceedings in CA. Find a local lawyer immediately.