Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX X'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.
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