It is very upsetting when a spouse decides to vacate the home without telling the other party where he/she is going.  It’s even worse when the spouse takes a child as well!  There are several recommended steps when confronted with a situation like this:

  1. Try to locate the spouse by contacting family members, friends and/or co-workers etc.
  2. Speak with an experienced Family Law Attorney so you understand your legal rights and options; once he/she is located, service can be made for Divorce or Legal Separation, if desired, as well as custody, visitation and support of the child

In this type of situation, the spouse, who has left the home, may have filed a restraining order and may or may not notify the other parent of the emergency hearing. Most judges approve a ‘temporary’ restraining order. Once the other parent is served, a response to the allegations can be made. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether to approve the restraining order or not.

Alternatively, the spouse may wish to move away with the child and not tell the other parent or get permission from the court. This is considered ‘child stealing‘ and is a criminal offense. In this instance, the police should be notified. They will attempt to find the parent and child.

If one party senses that his/her spouse may be vacating the home and/or leaving with a child, it’s best to get sound legal advice right away so that options are discussed. If the decision is made to file for custody, Divorce or Legal Separation then it is best to file and serve right away so as to avoid the problem of not knowing where the other party is and therefore not being able to serve.

For more answers to questions about Divorce, Legal Separation and Child Custody, call Legal Action Workshop @ 1-800-HELP-444 (1-800-435-7444) or visit our website for more information .  Our low flat fees make handling these types of issues affordable!

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