Can my wife take the children from me while we’re separated?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

My wife and I are separated but not yet divorced. The children have lived solely with me since we broke up.

My question is regarding child custody. Can my wife legally come and take the children from me?


First, let me preface my answer by stating that even though I am licensed to practice law in the state of Texas, I do not actively practice in Texas. Cordell & Cordell does have attorneys who are licensed in the state of Texas and would be happy to discuss your case with you.

The laws on custody vary by each state, but a lot will depend on if you have an active divorce or action for custody pending. If there is no action currently pending then each parent has equal rights to the children, since there is no court order that states otherwise.

However, if there is a current action filed, then your state may have safeguards in place regarding temporary custody and the ability of parents to make unilateral decisions regarding the residence and parenting schedule relating to the children.

You should consult an attorney in your jurisdiction to protect your rights as it relates to your children.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky, office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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