My wife went overseas with my son against my will

Question: My wife left me and took our son on what she calls a “sabbatical” to review our relationship shortcomings. Turns out, she’s in Switzerland staying with her father. She said she intends to return in 2 weeks.

Where do I stand legally, and how can I take steps to ensure that she cannot do it again? I don’t see why our not getting along means that I don’t have access to my 2-year-old son.


Answer: Just because you are not getting along DOES NOT mean you should not be able to spend time with your son.  You should contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in New York to discuss the applicable laws in your state.  In particular, you need to be prepared in the event she does not return in 2 weeks.  

I do not know what the laws are in Switzerland, however, she may decide to stay there indefinitely, file for divorce in Switzerland and not return to the states. If she does return and you decide to divorce, you should talk to an attorney about obtaining temporary custody and placement orders while the divorce is pending.  


Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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