Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney here to assist you.
If there is no custody order, you have just as much right to the child as the father, and you can take the child anywhere you please just as the father can. However, if you were my client, I would not recommend that you show up un-announced and try to get your son and go back to Colorado for a few reasons.
First, if you did this, the father could file an emergency petition for custody and get a court order requiring you to return the child. Secondly, if you go to the father's home, you could be charged with criminal trespassing and arrested. Third, an altercation could result in a domestic violence situation, which you want to avoid.
You're much better off filing a petition for custody of the child and get a court order granting you custody. You would have to file in Utah, however, if your son has been living there for at least 6 months.
Yes, you can file in Utah even though you don't live there. Jurisdiction is determined by the residence of the child.
Alerting the authorities won't do any good in this instance because you don't have any more right to the child than the father. Thus, the authorities would not force the father to let the child go. Also, it is not true that the child is old enough to make his own decision as to who he wants to live with. A minor child (under 18) NEVER has the right to decide who he wants to live with. He can tell the judge his preference, but it is not outcome-determinative. Instead, the judge mus do what he/she believes is in the child's best interest. The judge will put a lot of stock in what your son wants, but the judge doesn't have to follow his wishes.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).