My wife and I signed a separation agreement after we filed for divorce that I would get custody of our child, but she fled the state the other day with him and won’t return.
My son lived exclusively with me for almost a year without even a visit from his mom and the day I let her see him she took off and left the state.
How will the court look at these circumstances for the purpose of determining who gets custody?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Texas divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
If your divorce petition is still pending with the court and you are requesting that you be granted temporary custody of your child, then you can file a motion for temporary orders with the court and indicate in the motion that you are requesting the court to grant you temporary conservatorship of your son while the divorce is pending.
You can also request that your wife be present in court with your son at the temporary orders hearing. Keep in mind that, at least in my state, you are only required to give your wife three days notice of the hearing date for her to be present.
Therefore, if she does not appear you can get at default temporary order against her. Otherwise, if she does appear and brings your son with her, you can obtain physical custody of your son if the judge grants your request.
Also, if the separation agreement that you and your wife signed has been filed with the court you can use that to strengthen your position. The agreement can be attached as an exhibit with your motion for temporary orders. You may also request an emergency hearing on your temporary orders.
Since your son has been removed from the state for less than six months, your state still has jurisdiction over issues concerning conservatorship and visitation. Therefore, the sooner you file for temporary orders or an emergency hearing the better.
The age of your son also plays a factor in whether you would get temporary custody.
If your son is 12 years of age or more, the court may consider where he would like to be placed in making a decision.
If your son is less than 12 years old and has been removed from his school in the middle of the year and enrolled in a new school out of state, the court may look at that in making a decision as well.
You can argue these facts at your hearing to help aid in your request for temporary custody during the divorce.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.