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Family Law Answers, Family Law Attorney
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Experience:  more than 16 years experience as an attorney - current family law litigation + mediation practice
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My husband and i are separating. I am planning to move to Alabama

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My husband and i are separating. I am planning to move to Alabama & he is staying in Virginia. We have an 8 year old son together that wants to stay with his father at this time. If i leave him here, can it be considered abandonment? My husband had originally agreed to sign a paper stating that we were separating and that I was not abandoning our son, just abiding by his wishes. Now he refuses to sign the paper in order to keep me here and with him. He is using our son as a way to keep me under his control. I am trying to make sure my son is happy in this difficult situation. I love my son very much and would do whatever it takes to keep him happy, but the marriage is over and there is no saving it. I just don't want to end up in a situation where I lose my son forever.

Hi and thanks for your question.


Your leaving should not be considered abandonment; however, do not leave your son without a written custody agreement in place which clearly sets out what the custody/visitation schedule is going to be. This is nothing different than the court would do and it will be important if your ex does decide to use your leaving against you, not necessarily for a claim of abandonment per se, but as a way to say to the court that you didn't care about your child so you just up and left. I know this isn't what you are doing but without a signed agreement with him, it will be your word against his, and your actual leaving will only go to support his claim that you actually did leave.


You need a written document showing what your clear intent was here, and you should have something that is an agreement submitted to the court for the court to approve and make an order so that you do have a legally enforceable court order unless there is any "misunderstanding" as to the schedule at a later date.


I hope that this answers your question. If so, please click the green Accept button. Thanks very much and I wish you the best.

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