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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16288
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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My exhusband moved to California with our kids before our

Customer Question

My exhusband moved to California with our kids before our final hearing in tx almost 10 years ago. Our last hearing was dismissed due to no activity. I have been looking for them since. I periodically searched social media on his entire family and my kids but never got any info that would help. I called their school and found out when they were withdrawn but not where they were going. My 16 year old reached out to me on fb. I made sure to always keep it open with info that they would remember in the event that they would look for me. I have since learned that my exhusband is physically abusive and their step mom verbally abuses them and constantly fights with my exhusband to physically punish her. She has ran away once and my son just informed me she ran away again. My daughter says he beat her with a cord from a vacuum cleaner and shaved her hair off. He smokes marijuana and I know it's legal in California but my kids also smoke marijuana and have been in and out of trouble in school. My exhusband a oldest from a previous relationship is 17 and also ran away in February returning to tx with his grandmother. My daughter would very much like to come live with me. My only concern is that I don't want to be charged for any criminal charges and my biggest concern is if she comes here to Arkansas with me and I try to contact the California law enforcement to let them know, I don't want them to send her back because she will face far worse physical abuse for reaching out to me. He's threatened to beat them if they ever reached out to me and they are all afraid of him finding out they talk to me. I also don't want to file anything if they won't remove the rest of my children first because that will put them in harms way. Because I was so young and naive when we were married, I never called the cops for the daily physical abuse. I also had no family near and was threatened by his family if I ever called the police. I feel helpless. I can't leave my daughter out there alone but I can't put my other kids in danger. Can I bring her to Arkansas and somehow have my kids removed immediately before he finds out I am in the picture?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello there --

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When you were going through the Texas court hearings, which of you had custody of the children before the end of those hearings?

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Did you inform the Texas court that he took off with your children and you were unable to find them?

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MARY

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
He did. I had let them stay over the summer and he was suppose to bring them to Arkansas before school started. Instead he filed for custody because I refused to go back to him and enrolled them in school. And I did let the court know but they didnt do anything. I even called his attorney and asked where he took them he told me since I missed our hearing he has the right to take them where he wants. The last time I called the court they explained that the last thing filed was an order to adjudicate parentage and was dismissed because my exhusband didn't follow through. But I don't know where that leaves us.
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello again --

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Because he had custody and no final order was entered then if your daughter moves with you in another state you would put him in a position of having to go to the courts in CA to try to get a written custody order from the courts there in CA. However, if your daughter gets to you first, you can go into your local family court and ask for a custody order based upon the abuse and you will probably get an order at least for the daughter who is living with you. Regarding the other children, you best bet is to start calling Child Protective Services in their county in CA and reporting the abuse to them to see if the matter will be investigated and you may be able to step in and take the children back with you if they are removed from his home. The only other way that you can approach this is to file a motion for custody and visitation in the county family court in California where he is residing with the children - you cannot do it in your own home state because the children do not reside there (a custody court case must happen in the state where the children are living and that is most likely the reason your ex moved them out of state -- to make it more difficult for you to pursue the matter into court).

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Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, could you please press a positive rating above so I will be paid for my time? I am paid nothing unless you press a positive rating above. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
His oldest son has called the cops before for physically abusing his wife and then turning on the kids. The cops then reported to CPS and investigated but the kids were too scared to speak out against him. I've called CPS but they won't investigate further for that same reason. I have pictures of her hair shaved off and the bruises from where he beat her last night.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Would I be able to buy her a flight here if they report her as a runaway?
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello there -

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You can buy a flight or a train ticket without a problem but she might get stopped at the airport or the train station if she is reported as a runaway so you should do it very quickly. Have you thought about sending the pictures of her to CPS? They might look into it further at that point. Otherwise, even if you are not present in CA, you could hire a lawyer and apply for custody in the county where he lives -- you can show the court the pictures at the hearing and because your daughter is a teenager she actually has a choice in the family courtroom of where she wants to live and when she chooses you, there will be no further problems. A CA lawyer can set the entire hearing up and you would simply have to appear for it.

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MARY

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
How would I be able to find out if she's been reported as a runaway?
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello again --

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You really cannot. That is why I said to purchase the ticket quickly because you may be able to beat that happening.

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MARY

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
She just left a few hours ago and they are now looking for her. I'm just afraid they'll return her
Expert:  Legalease replied 4 months ago.

Hello again --

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They may have reported her as a runaway then and it would be difficult for her to take a train or a plane to you. Her best choice is to go to the police with the pictures of what has happened to her and she should ask the police to call you. Seriously. If she makes these charges against her father AND she has a place to go, then CPS will probably not return her to her father and will make some arrangements with you. But she has to be strong enough to tell the police what is happening and what has been happening.

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MARY