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The father legally has no choice but to return the children to the mother let he court's order. If he fails or refuses to do so, the mother can file contempt charges against the father to recover the children.....also, the father could be jailed or fined -- or both -- until the children are returned.
Thus, it's not acceptable to say that he can't do anything with his minor children -- the law considers rhat the father or mother control the children and they shall direct what the child does.