Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.
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?
Have you been complying with the terms of that original order (in terms of visitation, custody, etc...)?
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.
What that means:
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.
If there were no order in place, it's true that you could keep the child without fear of "kidnapping" or contempt charges.
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.
(or seek a modification of that order)
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.
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.
so, should I send him back until I initiate a court action?
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.
Even though you probably wouldn't be charged with kidnapping, it would hurt your chances in court.
(a judge could determine that you don't want to work within the law, etc... and that would adversely affect you)
Thank you for your advise
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.
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!
Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?
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).