Can my wife take our kids if I get a divorce? 36 Answers as of August 15, 2011

I want a divorce. My wife is threatening to keep my children away from me, unless I stay in the marriage. Can she do this?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Both parents have equal rights where the kids are concerned until a court says otherwise. So, can she move and take them with her? Yes. Can she deny you access or visitation without the Court's approval? No, at least not legally, she may do it physically but the Judge will not be amused unless she can justify the act. Keep in mind, there are equal rights, you can move and take the kids with you but I highly advise you do not deny her access or visitation. Always go into court with clean hands, even if the other side is playing dirty.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/11/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
Simply, no. Those types of threats do not carry any weight The courts will not allow a parent to deprive the other parent of access to children just because the parent wants a divorce. Studies have shown that having both parents involved is best for the children, even if divorced.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 8/10/2011
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
Assuming you are not a danger to your children, no, she cannot keep the children from you. You may be limited to supervised visitation for cause, but the court decides the access you will have to the children, not your wife. Please discuss your concerns with a domestic relations attorney near you.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/8/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
No, the Court would set up a visitation schedule. If she refused to abide by the schedule then she could be found in contempt of court and locked up in the county jail on the Order of a Judge.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 8/8/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
If you get divorced, the court is going to have to deal with parenting and visitation in some fashion. That means that the court is going to have to make one of you the primarily residential parent and give the other parent some sort of visitation. As to who is going to be the primary residential parent, and what sort of visitation is going to be ordered, there are a large number of factors. From the information provided, it is pretty much impossible to tell who would end up being the primary residential parent of your client. There is a long list of factors that the court is supposed to consider in crafting a parenting plan in Washington. Some of those factors include: Has there been domestic violence. Has there been sex abuse. Has there been child abuse. Does either parent have a problem with alcohol. Is there drug abuse in the case. The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent. Whether a parent has taken a greater responsibility for performing the parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child. Whether there are any agreements between the parties. Each parent's past and potential for future performance of parenting functions. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child. Each parent's employment schedule. It is how you and your spouse fit within these criteria that will determine the form of the parenting plan.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
    The Coyle Law Office
    The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
    In the event of a divorce, the divorce judge would determine the custody arrangement that he feels is in the best interests of the child. In almost all cases, both parents have at least visitation rights that are clearly set up. If one parent refused to abide by the visitation schedule, the other parent could bring them to court to explain to the judge why they are violating a court order.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Not without cause. She would have to prove that you are an unfit father and visitation with your children would be detrimental to them. You need to hire an attorney to represent you and protect your rights as a father. We offer free confidential 30 minute consultations if you would like to contact us to set an appointment.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Until there is a court order to the contrary, married parents have an equal right to have the children in their care. Where a divorce is anticipated, the situation can become an untenable tug of war with the children between parents. Moreover, depriving a parent of contact with their children without good cause can be considered by a court when a custody determination is made. In most cases, the children are better served by mediating a custody and parenting schedule until a court can hear the issue as part of a custody, legal separation or divorce case and issue an order based on what it believes to be in the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    In a divorce, the court will award custody and parenting time (visitation) for the benefit of the children. Which parent the children live with depends on many different factors, but each parent will ordinarily have recurring overnight contacts with the children and extended time over holidays and school breaks.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    The court will order custody and visitation rights in a divorce case such that you would see the children during your access time with them
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki
    Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki | Aubrey Srednicki
    In Arizona, the Court determines custody based on the many factors (best interest of child(ren) factors) which are provided for in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-403 (provided below). It is important that you seek advice from a skilled attorney regarding the specific facts and circumstances of your case, so you can make a determination as to possible outcomes. 25-403. Custody; best interests of child A. The court shall determine custody, either originally or on petition for modification, in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including: 1. The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody. 2. The wishes of the child as to the custodian. 3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child's parent or parents, the child's siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest. 4. The child's adjustment to home, school and community. 5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved. 6. Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse. 7. Whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child. 8. The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody. 9. Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title. 10. Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02. 11. Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse as defined in section 25-403.03. B. In a contested custody case, the court shall make specific findings on the record about all relevant factors and the reasons for which the decision is in the best interests of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No. As a parent, you have equal rights with her. You should consult with an attorney to assist you in protecting you and your children's rights.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC
    Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
    In Georgia, there is no legal gender presumption in regards to who is awarded primary physical custody. Barring certain extreme circumstances, the person who is not awarded primary physical custody is typically awarded visitation rights and joint legal custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Most Florida Counties have a standing Order requiring the children to remain in the marital home. Even without such an Order, if your wife leaves and takes the children, you may be entitled to relief from the court. I suggest you consult a local Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    Each parent has an equal right to custody of the children. The Courts look at several factors when determining which parent should have primary custody of the children. Custody is based on what is in the best interests of the children. It is the presumption of the California courts that primary custody of the children should be granted to the parent who will make the children more available to the non-custodial parent. You should contact an attorney to take steps to protect yourself prior to the time that you leave the relationship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    No. Both sides are entitled to as much time with kids as is feasible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    She can only do this, if the court determines it is in the child's best interest
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    No parent can unilaterally determine "who gets the kids." If you are a fit parent, then you should be awarded the partial/shared/primary/full custody that is in the best interest of the children after you file a Custody Complaint.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    There is no way from the limited facts you posted to determine which of you would win custody, or whether there would be joint custody. It would be a rare divorce where one party lost all contact with the children. Since you have a child it is essential that you hire a lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Unless there is some reason why you should not have custodial or visitation rights, it would be highly unlikely that your wife could keep you from your children. J
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Your wife cannot keep your kids from you if you file for divorce. The court will decide what is in the best interest of the children and in most cases parents share physical custody 50-50 and make joint legal decisions. You should be meeting with an experienced family law firm before you take any further steps.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    Custody of children in a divorce is almost always an issue of contention. The courts no longer automatically give the mother custody and the courts no longer use the tender years doctrine of awarding small children to only the mother. The court's standard is the best interest of the child and many factors go into that analysis. Stability, school ties, extended family close by, and whether there has been domestic violence or other issues that could effect the children are considered. Joint custody is becoming more accepted by judges but it requires parents that can get along and work as a team although no longer married.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No, one parent can't prevent the other parent from spending time with the children, unless of course one parent had a severe behavior problem (like drugs/alcohol addiction) that was detrimental to the kids. When you get divorced, you can request custody orders from the court. I'd suggest contacting a local family law lawyer to help you with your case. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The court will want you and your children to have an appropriate relationship with your children if that is in their best interest. Usually it is. If you have abused the children severely or her, you might be prohibited from seeing the children but even then, there can be reunification often.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    Absent something horrible related to you (e.g., chronic drug use, domestic violence), absolutely NOT.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    Both parents have the legal right to spend time with the children of the marriage. She may try to keep the children away from you, but you should eventually be able to get an Order from the court granting you time with your children.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The simple answer is "No, she can't keep you away from your children simply because you get a divorce." The reality is that she actually has more power to control your access to the children now than she will have once you file for divorce because right now there is nothing that spells out which parent can do what. Once you file for the divorce, there is an automatic order that prohibits either parent from taking the children out of Colorado without permission from the Court until the case is completed. The divorce process will require development and approval of a Parenting Plan that spells out specifically how each parent will be involved in parenting as part of the divorce orders. That Plan will either be one that you and your wife mutually agree to or one developed by the Court (or a court appointed expert) that is in the best interests of the children. Generally, the law presumes that what is best for children is to have two loving parents, willingly involved in parenting, whether they live together or not. The problem then is, what is the best way to do that in your particular situation. The Parenting Plan will provide where the child live most of the time and what time they spend with the other parent, who has what decision-making authority, and who pays what for the financial obligations. Neither parent will be denied appropriate access to, and time, with the children unless there is clear evidence that such access will be harmful to the children.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    DONWEST Legal, LLC
    DONWEST Legal, LLC | Dondi S. West
    Hello, No. Your wife can not prevent you from seeing your kids. Minus you being an unfit parent (i.e. an abusive heroin addict), you have a statutory and constitutional right to play an active part in your childrens' life.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    It is very unlikely that your wife would be able to prevent you from seeing your children. Even if she were granted sole physical custody, you would still be entitled to spend time with them. It's only in very extreme circumstances that a parent would be prevented from seeing their children. Supervised visitation would come before that. Most parents will end up with some form of shared custody arrangement. However, I strongly suggest that you speak with a divorce attorney in much more detail before assuming or filing anything with the court.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    No parent will have sole say-so in the event of a divorce. If the two of you cannot agree on a custody and visitation plan, the court will order one for you. Unless there is a specific reason for your wife to keep your children away from you that is provable, you will have rights to have joint custody and visitation depending on what is best for the children. If you are a druggie, wife or child abuser, pornography addict or have some other serious social problem, you may have difficulties obtaining custody.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Generally no. In California divorces, the custody of minors is determined by the best interest of the children. Assuming there is no abuse or other issues, the court will want to ensure frequent and continuing contact with both parents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Decisions regarding the children are made according to "the children's best interests," based on several statutory factors. If she improperly keeps the children away from you, you can ask the court to enter orders regarding your parenting time.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/5/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    No, she cannot. The court will always support the children having an ongoing relationship with their parents. You should consider when you file for divorce filing a motion to establish your custody and parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/5/2011
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