If There Is No Custody Order in Place, Can I Take My Child?

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother is presumed to have full legal and physical custody. Until the father petitions for paternity, sole custody rests with the mother. As such, the father would not have the right to take the child until he is awarded custody. When a child is born to married parents, the presumption is that both parents will equally share physical and legal custody. This presumption continues until the couple files for legal separation or divorce. If a married couple separates but does not file for legal separation or divorce, both parents would still share physical and legal custody. Each parent would have just as much right to take the child as they did before the separation.  That said, you don’t have the right to take your child to another location in order to deny visitation to the other parent. This may be considered parental kidnapping, a serious offense that will hurt your prospects for custody when the issue goes to court.…

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