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Hi. I have a question related to custody law in California.

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Hi. I have a question related to custody law in California. My husband and I have a daughter, and have lived in California since 2008 (none of us is a US citizen, we are legal aliens). I tried to discuss reasonable plans for shared custody with my husband, for I intend to file for divorce, because his emotionally abusive behavior towards myself and towards our daughter is extremely unhealthy for the little one. However, the only response I get from him is that if I file for divorce, he'll leave to Eastern Europe with our daughter and I'll never see her again. I saw a family law specialist in our town, but she would not answer any specific questions, only told me her "retaining fee" is $5000. I don't have that kind of money. What can I do to find out the alternatives? I want to divorce and share custody, but I won't do that if there is even the slightest chance he can take the little girl away from me.
Thank you. Please do not make my question public.


My name isXXXXX a licensed attorney. Glad to try and help out.

Sure sorry for the circumstances, truly. My heart goes out to you.

Accordingly, I'm pleased to share some good news with you, as follows. When it comes to family law help, California is a great state in which to reside. In fact, you can access a bounty of free help (information, forms, instructions) by clicking the following link:

California Judicial Council

In addition to seeking this type of help online, there is also a free resource where you can speak with family law staff in person. To do so, just select your county from the following application:

Self Help Centers

Also, free or reduced fee family law legal services are available here:

Free and Low-Cost Legal Help

Now, I also sense your very understandable concern over the issue of losing your child. Please know that what your husband is threatening would be a very serious crime. For that reason I'm very happy to provide you with peace of mind. There is a program whereby you can act right now (no need to wait until filing for divorce) to prevent an unlawful child abduction from taking place. Here is everything you need to take advantage of that option:

Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program

If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me.

I truly hope all works out for you.

Take care,

Ben, J.D.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ben. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It is, to some degree, reassuring. But the issue is that our child is NOT a US citizen. She already has a passport, from our country of origin. If I understand the CPIAP program correctly, it applies only to US citizen children, and secondly, since she has a passport already, there is no system that would prevent my husband from leaving the US with her. Since that is my biggest concern, I would appreciate a resource for learning about what I can do to prevent that situation.
Thank you. I appreciate your response and I am grateful for the links to affordable legal advise.

Hello again,
You're most welcome, my pleasure, and thanks for writing back.
I apologize as I was thinking your child was born in this country.
If you would please let me know the name of the issuing country of her passport, I'll be glad to help out further.
Thanks again!
Ben, J.D.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ben. She has a Romanian passport.


Thank you

Hi there,

Thanks for taking the time to write back.

Now, when it comes to a foreign passport (even in dual-nationality cases), this country does not have any means of what is called "exit control". In other words, at this moment in time either parent could travel with your child. Accordingly, you would need to address your concerns from the other way around, if that makes sense. Meaning, you should contact:

Romanian Consulate

XXXXX Ste 560

Los Angeles, California 90025


Now, once you do have a final divorce decree, the good news is that Romania and the Untied States are both signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Until the time that your case gets before a Judge and you are granted appropriate relief, the truth of the matter is this is a gray area at this moment in time.

Hope that helps some more, but if you need anything please just say the word.

Kind regards,

Ben, J.D.

LawHelpNow and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

I enjoyed working with you recently.

How are things going?

Is there anything else I can do to help?

Please just let me know.


Ben, J.D.