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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 29282
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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I am an unwedded mother residing in California who has a one

Customer Question

I am an unwedded mother residing in California who has a one year old child. I feel like I'm in a hostage situation with the baby's father and grandfather. They take my child whenever they please and prevent me from leaving. Baby father has stolen my keys and purse and drove off in an attempt to leave. He is verbally abusive and has an angry temper where he has thrown objects around. His mother comes over every and spends time with my baby. If I refuse, he again verbally abuses me. Although his family has had a bond with my child and the baby father signed declaration of paternity, we have no custody agreement. I am interested in possibly moving out of the state (if allowed) because my family lives there. Parents are retired, more affordable area, and I graduated with my bachelors, looking to move onto my masters. Can i legally leave the state? The father has threatened to get a lawyer.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

My name is ***** ***** I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your siuation.

The next time the father touches your purse or your keys, you call the police IMMEDIATELY. Refusing to allow you to leave your own home is kidnapping. Taking your purse is theft. These are crimes. If he throws things at you, call the police immediately. That's assault and battery. If the mother shows up, don't let her in. That's trespassing. If the father is yelling at you, hang up the phone. Better yet, don't answer the phone when he calls. If he shows up, call the police. He has NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER to treat you this way.

With that said, you're in a very precarious situation. Right now, without a custody order, if the father shows up to pick up your child for a visit and does not return, there is legally not a thing you can do about it. You need a court order granting you sole custody and establishing child support. Whether you want the money or not, the baby is legally entitled to it. You can calways stick it in a college fund. When you file for custody and support, you can also ask the judge for permission to leave the state with the child. While you're at it, you can ask for a non-harassment order and ask the judge to require that ALL COMMUNICATION between you two be via text or email. That way, if he's being abusive, you'll have proof.

The problem with just up and moving is that you have to live in Washington for six months before you can open a case there for custody. (That's true in any state, but your question says Washington.) If the father files in California first, you will have to return to California for all the hearings, and you run the risk that the judge will order you to return the child to the state pending a decision. The person you've described does not appear to be to be above lying and scheming to get what he wants, and if he applies for an emergency ex parte order, you could lose custody for months while things are sorted out—and you'd be living in another state.

A local attorney can help you file an emergency ex parte order for sole custody ASAP, which will stop the father and grandfather from showing up and taking the child at will. A good place to find someone is http://www.martindale.com.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

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