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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102191
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I live in gaithersburg MD and my wife left the home taking

Customer Question

Hi, I live in gaithersburg MD and my wife left the home taking baby away from me without notifying me or taking my permission. Its been 5 months and still she is not willing to come back with baby. Do you recommend to file a case at police station first or send legal notice first?
Thank you
Ram Vinjam
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts to opt out of participation in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
1) Where did your wife go with the baby? India?
2) Are there currently custody orders in place for the child from an Indian or Maryland Court, or not?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She left to London UK on Feb 25th, stayed with her brother until March 14th and then went to India. She is in India now. To my knowledge no custody orders were issued either in US or in India. Neither Mom nor baby has valid visa to stay more re than 30 days and she is staying in India illegally.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
The following applies:
Md. Fam. Law Code Ann. § 9-304
If a child is under the age of 16 years, a relative who knows that another person is the lawful custodian of the child may not, with the intent to deprive the lawful custodian of the custody of the child:
(1) abduct, take, or carry away the child from the lawful custodian to a place within this State;
(2) having acquired lawful possession of the child, detain the child within this State for more than 48 hours after the lawful custodian demands that the child be returned;
(3) harbor or hide the child within this State, knowing that possession of the child was obtained by another relative in violation of this section; or
(4) act as an accessory to an act prohibited by this section.
Md. Fam. Law Code Ann. § 9-305
(a) If a child is under the age of 16 years, a relative who knows that another person is the lawful custodian of the child may not, with the intent to deprive the lawful custodian of the custody of the child:
(1) abduct, take, or carry away the child from the lawful custodian to a place in another state;
(2) having acquired lawful possession of the child, detain the child in another state for more than 48 hours after the lawful custodian demands that the child be returned;
(3) harbor or hide the child in another state knowing that possession of the child was obtained by another relative in violation of this section; or
(4) act as an accessory to an act prohibited by this section.
(b) If a child is under the age of 16 years, a relative who knows that another person is the lawful custodian of the child may not, with the intent to deprive the lawful custodian of the custody of the child:
(1) abduct, take, or carry away the child from the lawful custodian to a place that is outside of the United States or a territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;
(2) having acquired lawful possession of the child, detain the child in a place that is outside of the United States or a territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for more than 48 hours after the lawful custodian demands that the child be returned;
(3) harbor or hide the child in a place that is outside of the United States or a territory of the United States or the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico knowing that possession of the child was obtained by another relative in violation of this section; or
(4) act as an accessory to an act prohibited by this section.
In essence, it gives the prosecutor DISCRETION to decide whether or not to charge a parent with a criminal act if they take the child and flee jurisdiction to HIDE the child, and, there are no custody orders in place. One can go to the police, yes, but since she is in India, there is little that they can do on a local level. One can send a demand letter first that requests that the child is returned, and if the child is not returned, then file a complaint. Whether or not the authorities will act is up to them. One may have better luck pursuing this in India on a civil/criminal matter.
Best of luck.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. How do I send demand letter? Thru legal notice, email or certified mail? Since me, my wife and daughter all are US Citizens, there is very little that we can do in India legally. So I am thinking first to file a report with local police to support my case and then send legal notice thru an attorney. What do you suggest?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
You are most welcome.
Understand that the demand letter is optional.
It is best to use counsel. A letter of demand coming from an attorney carries a lot more gravitas. It would be sent certified mail, return receipt requested.
Filing a criminal complaint and using an attorney in US who can possibly join forces with an Indian attorney is probably one's best bet. Also, you may wish to peruse the following:
http://travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/english.html
The U.S. Dept. of State may be of help as well, on a federal level.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you provide help in preparing demand letter or know of any affordable attorneys in Maryland area?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, JustAnswer experts cannot draft legal documents for customers.
May I recommend the Maryland Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I am thinking of filing a petition for child custody in Montgomery county court myself. Could you please let me know what would be the best reason to request for solo custody?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc. The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child unless both parents agree to this.
One parent usually becomes the custodian and the other parent becomes the "visiting" parent which is generally one day a week, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The nuanced points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed visitation unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even visitation, although supervised visitation may be granted by the Court.
SOLO custody therefore is unlikely, however, if she proves to be a flight risk, then he visitation may only be allowed with surrender of passports, supervised, etc.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.