Ask A Lawyer: She Has Taken My Child to Another State, What Can I Do?

Question:

My wife of 8 years has decided she wants a divorce. At the beginning of the summer, she took our 8 year old son and drove out west to see her mother.  She has since decided that she will not return. Unknown to me at the time when she left, she had already decided not to enroll our son back in his local school for the next school year. As the scenario developed, and I learned a few more things, it became apparent that she had planned this from the very start. What are my options and what can I do?

 

 

Answer:

Check with an Illinois licensed attorney regarding mandatory attendance laws and the likelihood of having the Illinois court order the child’s return.  You should also discuss the effect of the “home state” determination under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), depending on what western state she and the child are in.  Generally, Illinois will be considered the “home state” of the child and all custody proceedings will occur in your local court unless she can establish another state as the “home state” (generally requiring the child to be there for about 6 months or more).  So be aware that there is a time limit (and therefore restriction) to take action.

 

Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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