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If non-custodial parent does not return child/children

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My estranged husband and I are opting for an un-contested divorce. He has had limited visitation with our children (daughter 8, son 6) since we split up 2 years ago and has offered NO SUPPORT. He has made indications that he wants my SON ONLY to live with him, not my daughter. His reasoning, I believe, is so he will not be obligated to pay child support if we both have 1 child. However, with him living in Texas and myself and our 2 children living in Alabama, I'm worried that if he chooses to not return my son/children I may have to fight him in court to get them back.

 

If he chooses to not return them (or not return my son), but files a legal petition with the courts while he has the children in his custody to retain legal physical custody of my son/children, will he be legally obligated to return them until if/when the order is changed? Will he be legally allowed to keep them until if/when the order is changed? WIll he have to file in AL or TX?

 

We both offer stable homes. No domestic issues on file. The children are established in Al, enrolled in school and have family and friends close by. They have never lived in TX... only visited once before the separation.

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I'm worried that if he chooses to not return my son/children I may have to fight him in court to get them back.

 

Not sure what this has to do with the proposal to have one child live with each of you.  Obviously, this is a potential concern no matter where he lives.

 

 

 

If he chooses to not return them (or not return my son), but files a legal petition with the courts while he has the children in his custody to retain legal physical custody of my son/children, will he be legally obligated to return them until if/when the order is changed? Will he be legally allowed to keep them until if/when the order is changed? WIll he have to file in AL or TX?

 

I'm not sure what these questions mean.  Your post seems to indicate that you're still married.  It's not clear whether either of you has filed for divorce or, if so, where the divorce is pending.  It's also not clear if there is any existing custody/visitation/support order, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.  Therefore, I don't know what you mean when you refer to "the order."  All I can tell you is that either of you could file for divorce in either Alabama or Texas.  Once one of you files, jurisdiction should remain with that court for all future proceedings.

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He doesn't have to "offer" support. It's up to you to petition the court for an award of support and then enforce it through the courts if you have to.

 

You have good reason to worry about all your "what ifs" and the way to get in front of them is YOU file for divorce in your local court (assuming you meet the residency requirements).

 

Keep in mind that he has as much right to the children as you do and if he files in Texas during visitation, he could very well win custody.

 

Stop sitting on your thumbs. Hire a lawyer and get busy.

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