Does a spouse need to sign over custody rights if they go to prison? 15 Answers as of May 18, 2011

I am married and just had a baby. I may need to go into jail. My husband lives in another city than the baby and me but is still a part of our lives. Will I need to sign over my custody of my child to my husband, or can I just give him the baby?

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John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Unless there is an existing court order affecting custody rights that might need to be modified, there is nothing to prevent you from relinquishing custody and control to the child's other parent. If there has been no court proceeding, however, you need to recognize that by permitting the child to live with the father in another state you will probably have to decide any future custody disputes after you are released from jail in that new state.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 5/18/2011
Cody and Gonillo, LLP
Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
You do not have to sign anything if he is the parent if there are no current orders in place.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 5/18/2011
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
]This could get complicated. You do not have to "sign" anything, since your husband is the child's father. There are so many variables you did not discuss that it is impossible to advise you. For example, will you be together with you get out of prison? What will you do if he refuses to give the child back to you? How long will you be incarcerated? You could try to get a Stipulation ahead of time regarding what will happen both now and when you are released, but you would have to file for divorce and custody, first.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
Glenn E. Tanner
Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
You don't need to sign anything but you may want to. But to do so may impact your rights later so I wouldn't unless there is a good reason to do so and you mention none.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/17/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
There are a bunch of facts that could come into play. You could do a temporary custody modification that is set to expire on its own terms at the end of the incarceration period, expressly stating that the custody is temporary and set to expire. Otherwise, you will have to obtain custody upon your release which would require showing a change of circumstances in the custodial home that indicate the child's interest are served by removing the child. You would also want the custody to be joint legal custody with the dad having primary physical custody to minimize the risk that you'd have to show an adverse change in circumstances to remove the child from the dad upon your release. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/17/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    I believe you can just give him the baby. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. There is no need cosign over custody. That parent may seek to change custody however.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    You don't "have" to but by going through court to give him primary residence at least for while you are in jail, would make his ability to take care of your child's needs much easier.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    No. In Utah, one reason for a Divorce with Cause is if the spouse has been convicted of a felony. We are Arnold & Wadsworth a Utah Law Firm, feel free to give us a call for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    In Washington I am not aware of any reason you would need to sign anything over. Your husband may use the fact the child is living with him to seek a modification of the parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    There is no need to "sign over custody" provided he is the father.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Have you discussed this with the father? Is he planning on returning the child to you once you are out? How long is your jail or prison term? If it is short term the answers may be different than if your sentence is for a longer period of time. There is nothing that I can think of quickly that requires you to sign a document giving him custody.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    If there is no order, then you don't need one to have your husband care for the child, however you may have difficultly regaining custody after you get out unless you have an agreement in place for you to retain custody. If you are in my area, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/16/2011
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