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Ask Tina Your Own Question
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33166
Experience:  JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
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We live in SC and my son and his wife live nearby in a house

Customer Question

We live in SC and my son and his wife live nearby in a house we own. They don't make enough money to support themselves and their 2 children along with her son from a previous relationship. We have essentially been their sole support. Recently my son and his wife have had marital problems and she has threatened to take the children out of state. We realize that they need to be have a separation at the very least, but she is mentally unstable with previous history of suicide attempts and she has started to concoct stories of abuse. She has called the police to the house and then has admitted that he did not harm her. She is not above inflicting injuries on herself. How can my son prevent her from leaving the state with the children? We believe she will try to get a restraining order against him and then leave. Her family has called us to threaten us that we will never see the children again. She has our car. Our son is at our with his daughter. She has his son. We need help quickly.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for contacting our JA team for guidance.

I am very sorry to hear of your difficult situation. The best and fastest way to handle this situation is for your son to file a petition for dissolution or legal separation. At the same time, he needs to file a motion for a temporary order stating that children are not to be moved out of the immediate area. While filing the petition requires that the parties maintain the status quo, including not moving the children out of state, if he has an order and she violates it, the police are more likely to aid him in getting the children back without going through additional proceedings.

The state bar association can provide your son with attorney referrals. He really needs one to get the petition and motion filed quickly.

Please let me know if you need additional information.

Best regards XXXXX XXXXX



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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If she goes to court tomorrow AM and gets a restraining order and asks for custody of both children before he gets an attorney, can she just leave? Does something like that happen so quickly? It's apparent that she has packed up the house and we are afraid she will show up at our house tonite and demand his daughter.Can he say that he doesn't want his daughter to leave our house? Is that enough to deter her? Does he get any time to respond to her claims without her being able to leave?
We have been told that if she gets her hands on his daughter, she can take her. How does this affect her going to school?
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
No. She could get a restraining order, but it would be temporary (usually effective for 10 days). She would need to provide proof at a hearing to make it permanent. Custody is not granted without a hearing.

Until there is something filed with the courts and an order from the court, your son and his wife have equal rights to the child so he can refuse to allow your granddaughter to go with her mother. Don't allow her to take your granddaughter under any circumstances until a petition for separation or dissolution is filed. Your son will need to act quickly and may need to keep her home from school for a couple of days if that is what it takes to prevent the mother from fleeing with her out of state.

All the best to you and your family!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm glad to pay you an additional amount for your services - can I talk to you - I need to know exactly what we need to get accomplished and when and how
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
We can only communicate through this forum based on the terms of service. He needs to be on the phone first thing in the morning to get an attorney to file a petition for him asap. He can begin searching for local attorneys today at the state bar's website:

They will help him proceed as I have suggested above.

Good luck and take care during this difficult time.
Tina and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Tina replied 6 years ago.
You can also demand that she return the vehicle immediately if it is in your name. If she refuses, report it stolen.