Is the original custody order out of New York?
Is she otherwise agreeable to allowing the children to live with you?
If you remove the children to your state without court order or without the custodial parent's agreement (which should be signed in writing), you could be subject to civil and criminal kidnapping penalties. The safest way to address this issue is to file a motion in the family court asking for custody. If the mother will not agree to custody with you without a stipend for visitations, this is your only option. Even then, the court may order you to bear some of the cost of travel expenses for either the children to her or her to the children. That is quite common, however, the stipend, if any, would be a reasonable amount, and she would be ordered to bear some of that cost as well (normally at least half).
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions.
First, I should say that if the court finds that it is in the children's best interest to live with you, it may not order that you contribute to travel expenses at all. Travel expenses are often ordered where the custodial parent wishes to relocate away from the noncustodial parent. However, if custody is modified because it is no longer in the children's best interest to live with the custodial parent, travel expenses may not be awarded at all.
Beyond that, it is within the court's discretion whether to award travel expenses based on the particular circumstances, including the means of the parties. If the court does order you to pay travel expenses, you may ask for an order that she provide you with receipts for costs so that you can assure that your monetary contribution is necessary.
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Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions. Otherwise, please kindly accept so I can be credited for my time.
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