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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16188
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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My wife and I divorced in 2000 in the state of Louisiana.

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My wife and I divorced in 2000 in the state of Louisiana. In the divorce decree we agreed that she would have custody of our son, with me having visitation the entire summer and alternating major holidays. In 2005, we agreed that it would be best for him to live with me, we did not go through the courts. In 2011, she decided she wanted him to live with her again so, I agreed. I am a 20 year retired military vet living and working in Texas and my ex-wife lives in Colorado. After visiting this summer, my son stated that he does not want to live with his mother any longer. My ex-wife doesnt agree with his decision and wants him to come home immediately. He states that she is verbally abusive and has a negative outlook on life. My question is this, can I legally keep him here without a court order? Do I have to take this matter to the courts and finally, can she press charges on me for child kidnapping. Please help!

Roderick Brown

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Just to be clear, there still is a divorce decree in place that gave her custody of your child? This was part of the order?

Customer:

yes sir

ScottyMacEsq :

Have you been complying with the terms of that original order (in terms of visitation, custody, etc...)?

Customer:

yes

ScottyMacEsq :

I am sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, it is a bit more complicated when both of you have moved away from Louisiana. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) spells out what states will have jurisdiction, and if one of the parents was still in Louisiana, then that would have jurisdiction. But when the child and both parents move away, then the state that the child resides in would have jurisdiction.

ScottyMacEsq :

What that means:

ScottyMacEsq :

You would need to get a new court order (essentially). While you probably wouldn't be charged with kidnapping, particularly if the child did not want to go, you could be held in contempt of court, which could endanger any rights that you might otherwise have to seek custody.

ScottyMacEsq :

If there were no order in place, it's true that you could keep the child without fear of "kidnapping" or contempt charges.

ScottyMacEsq :

But once there is an order in place, the only way that you could get around that is to show a current agreement between you two that is contrary to that order.

ScottyMacEsq :

(or seek a modification of that order)

ScottyMacEsq :

Since the child has been living in Colorado for at least 6 months (even if he's been visiting you) the jurisdiction to seek a new order would be there.

ScottyMacEsq :

Only when he has actually moved and resided with you for at least 6 months in Texas could Texas courts have jurisdiction over such a case.

Customer:

so, should I send him back until I initiate a court action?

ScottyMacEsq :

Again, the Louisiana courts would not have any jurisdiction anymore. As to sending him back, yes, unless you can get an agreement from his mother.

ScottyMacEsq :

Even though you probably wouldn't be charged with kidnapping, it would hurt your chances in court.

ScottyMacEsq :

(a judge could determine that you don't want to work within the law, etc... and that would adversely affect you)

Customer:

Thank you for your advise

ScottyMacEsq :

That being said, I would highly suggest getting a family law attorney in the county where he resides in Colorado to seek a new custody order.

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

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