Who gets child custody during a domestic dispute with no court order? 20 Answers as of November 07, 2011

My son's father's mother refused to give me my child. I called the police and said that I'm his mother and his father is not at the residence and I need to get my son. However, the police officer stated with no custody order he can not hand my son over to me. How in the world does she have any right to do that?

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Alfred Law Firm
Alfred Law Firm | Janice Alfred
If the child was born out of wedlock in Georgia and not legitimated, then the biological father is not the legal father and as such, he has no parental rights to the child neither does his mother. In that situation, the police should have allowed you to get your child. If the child was the product of a marriage between the two of you, the father has equal rights to the child and therefore the police acted in the right way.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 11/7/2011
Horizons Law Group, LLC
Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
If you are not married, have no court orders, you have sole custody in Wisconsin. The police are wrong. You should go to the sensitive crimes office in the DA's office. They can instruct the police to assist you in the return of the child to you.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 10/28/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Simply put the police officer did not want to get involved. There are no court orders, so this is a personal matter and he/she is not required to act as your judge. Get some court orders. They will have a warning to the other parties and an order to the police to enforce them, this makes it a court order, not a personal matter.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/28/2011
Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
The police officer was in error. As the legal and natural mother your rights are superior to that of a grandparent. A custody order is relevant between two dicorced natural parents, if the parents are unmarried and there is no court order for custody or visitation the mother is deemed to have sole custody of the child.
Answer Applies to: Arkansas
Replied: 10/28/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Police officers cannot make decisions about who is entitled to custody when there is no court order. So, apparently the police officer felt there was nothing to indicate or prove anything as to where the child should be. That is why you should do something in the court to get it clearly decided with a court order that the police have to recognize and obey.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/27/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Most police officers would consider it a civil matter to be resolved by the family courts.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You need to file a custody complaint with the Family Part in your county so that the Court can give you temporary custody while the dispute is pending.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Unfortunately, many police officers often do not know the law when it comes to family matters. A grandparent has no parental rights without a court order. So, the office had it backwards. If there is no court order giving this grandparent custody rights, then they are violating the law by refusing to return the child to you. If someone other than the parent has taken a child and refuses to return that child to the parent, that is crime (abduction), per California Penal Code section 278. Heres the law: 278. Every person, not having a right to custody, who maliciously takes, entices away, keeps, withholds, or conceals any child with the intent to detain or conceal that child from a lawful custodian shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both that fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both that fine and imprisonment. You can call the police department back and ask to speak to the Watch Commander, or whoever else is in charge. You need to speak to a senior police officer. If you get no remedy from them, you should contact your local District Attorney office, and inform them that your child had been abducted, and the police are refusing to assist. Heres a link that will give you more info: http://childabductions.org/ If the police will not help, then you should file an ex-parte motion with your local family court requesting immediate custody orders, including that the child be returned to you. You can hire a lawyer to assist, or if you cant afford a lawyer, go to your local courthouse, where they should have a free legal self-help center.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    It depends on your circumstances. You say there's no custody order; does that mean you are married to your child's father? If so, you both have equal custodial rights and that's why the police may have been not willing to help. If you are not married to the child's father and he has not legitimated the child and there's no custody order, then the police should have helped you because neither the father nor his mother have any rights to the child. I am assuming you have your son back now; if not and the police will not help, you need to call a lawyer right away.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Unfortunately for you, the law does not give either parent the preference with regard to physical possession and care of a child when there is no court order. The father may also appoint a caregiver, such as a parent, to care for the child when he is a work, etc., and that is perfectly legal. You need to either work out an amicable arrangement with the father, or file a petition for custody.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    His mother is doing what your mother would do. The police have no idea what the truth is so they refuse to act. Get a court order giving you residential custody if you are subject to domestic violence.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Office Chtd.
    Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Office Chtd. | Jason Kohlmeyer
    No one. You share equal custody until there is an court order to the contrary. This is assuming you're married. If you were never married and he hasn't filed a paternity action he has very few rights.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington, try again with the police, particularly if you have a birth certificate with your name on it. The grandmother has no rights without an order. You and the father are the only ones with rights without an order.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Yes. I've heard of similar situations before. Without a court order, the police generally won't get involved in what they regard as a civil dispute. If you're serious about getting your child back, then, you are probably going to have to file an action in court and get an order entered granting you primary residential placement of the child. With such an order in hand, then, the police will probably assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    McCormack Law Office
    McCormack Law Office | Erin Michael McCormack
    Without a custody order, law enforcement is powerless to do anything. You need to file a custody case in court, and ask for an emergency hearing to determine temporary custody of your son while the case is pending.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    This is a civil matter and the police, unfortunately, do not like to get in the middle of civil disputes. My question is..who was the child living with? and if the child was living with you, how did the grandmother get the child? There are ways in which to get your child "back" if you were in fact the primary caretaker, but you have not established that information in the questions.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/27/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Without a court order, each parent is equally permitted to have the child. If you want to get the child back, you will need to obtain an order to do so. Emergency orders are available for situations like yours.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/27/2011
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