Can I get full custody without a divorce? 23 Answers as of October 03, 2011

My wife has left the state. She left the kids with me. Is there any way to gain full custody without getting a divorce?

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Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
Yes, an action under 767 can be filed without a divorce. Or you can file legal separation. It is not typical to file an action without a divorce, so you may find it difficult to find assistance or forms for it. So you may need to hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/12/2011
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
You can not get full custody without a divorce action.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/12/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
You can obtain a temporary custody order pending a divorce and you can obtain a custody order between parties that were never married.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/12/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
You may file an action to determine custody without filing for divorce.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/12/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
You have full custody based on your question. Are you asking if you can get custody orders without filing for divorce? If so, the answer to that question is "Yes". You simply file a Suit Affecting a Parent Child Relationship instead of a divorce. My question is why would you want to do this? Do you have religious beliefs that prevent you from filing for divorce? If so, I understand and respect that position. Otherwise, there is no benefit to being married to someone that is absent without the intent to return. There is some risk as well (though this example is a two way street): if you play the lottery and win, if you are still married, she can file for divorce and demand half of the winnings; your house and everything you buy during marriage is community property (even if bought what she is out of state) and subject to future division too. So remaining married means your community property continues to grow and her interest in that property along with it.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/9/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Yes. File a custody petition in family court.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    As a practical matter, you already have "full custody" until such time as your wife decides to return and assert her rights. There isn't anything else you can do other than divorce. The only way to sort out which parent has what specific rights is through a divorce case that allocates parental responsibilities in a written parenting plan that establishes the rules. Until there is a court order, there is nothing that says what specific rights you have.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You can try applying in Probate Court or Superior Court.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    You can enter into a written separation agreement, but why would you want to? Rarely is there an advantage to a separation agreement as opposed to a divorce unless you feel the marriage can be saved. If you do choose the written separation agreement route, I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss you case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    "Custody" is a word without much precise meaning in Washington. You can get a parenting plan specifying how much access and rights each of you have to the children and what conditions there are to the exercise of those rights with a legal separation which is not divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/9/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    You could request a legal separation and a custody order, but a custody action will not stand on its own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/9/2011
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