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

if there is no custody order in place can i take my child - moving out of state with child no custody agreement

If there is no custody order in place can I take my child?

We get this question all the time from clients.

This blog is going to cover topics like

  • moving out of state
  • taking your child from the other parent
  • avoiding parental kidnapping
  • whether police enforce child custody
  • how keeping the child away from the other parent will backfire

Let’s dive right in.

Table of Contents

  1. Parental Kidnapping No Custody Order
  2. Moving Out of State With Child No Custody Agreement
  3. How Keeping a Child Away From the Other Parent Can Backfire
  4. Reasons To Withhold Visitation
  5. Can Unmarried Father Take Child From Mother
  6. Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married?
  7. Can a Parent Take a Child Out of State Without the Other Parents Consent
  8. Can a Parent Take a Child Out of State With Joint Custody?
parental kidnapping no custody order - withholding a child from another parent - moving out of state with child no custody agreement

Parental Kidnapping No Custody Order

Parental kidnapping is when one parent takes the child and refuses to return them.

Parental kidnapping without custody order is not valid.

If there is no custody order, the law does not consider it parental kidnapping.

When there is no custody order, both parents have equal rights to the child.

Either parent can go anywhere they want with the child at any time.

If there is no custody order in place can I take my child?

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What if a parent moves to another state or location with the child?

This is only parental kidnapping if one parent does not notify the other parent of the move.

When one parent relocates the child without notification, this is parental kidnapping.

If there is no custody order in place and you want to take your child, document the conversations with your ex.

This way, if any disputes come up later on, you have text messages or emails as proof that you told them.

Is Parental Kidnapping a Felony?

Parental kidnapping is a Class 2 Felony.

This means that a parent can go to jail for 3-7 years.

Parental kidnapping is concealing a child from the custodial parent without permission.

keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire - will police enforce child custody - reasons to withhold visitation

Moving Out of State With Child No Custody Agreement

Are you planning on moving out of state with child no custody agreement?

You can move out of state with the child if:

  • there is no custody agreement
  • you have never been married to the father

You are legally allowed to be moving out of state with a child and no custody agreement.

You can move out of state without the court’s permission.

Just know that if you are planning on moving out of state with the child, it can backfire.

If the father decides to file a paternity case, he can get custody and visitation.

Let’s say the father has been involved in the child’s life and you are moving out of state with the child.

The judge may sympathize with the father.

And they can order you to move back to accommodate custody and visitation orders.

Withholding a Child From Another Parent

What if one parent is withholding a child from another parent?

Withholding a child from another parent makes the situation much more serious.

Withholding a child from another parent can be considered parental kidnapping by law.

Reasons that one parent may resort to withholding a child from another parent are:

  • the other parent is not paying child support
  • the other parent is not following the visitation schedule

Remember that child custody and child support are separate issues.

Related: Getting Custody Back From Grandparents

Child support should always get paid and not withheld as a bargaining chip.

This will only backfire in the courts.

But withholding a child from another parent interferes with the custody orders.

This can be considered parental kidnapping.

If one parent has not disclosed the location of the child and is withholding them, this is parental kidnapping.

If one parent is withholding a child, you should contact a child custody lawyer.

A child custody lawyer will notify the parent that they are violating the custody orders.

(Obviously, they already know they are violating the child custody laws by withholding the child.)

But, this is the formal process so that you can take the other parent to court.

And this is how keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire.

keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire - withholding a child from another parent

How Keeping a Child Away From the Other Parent Can Backfire

Let’s talk about how keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire.

This backfires in serious, and permanent, ways for the offending parent.

Parents who are keeping the child away from the other parent can:

  • face jail time
  • receive a criminal charge for custodial interference
  • have their child custody reduced
  • have their visitation reduced

If one parent is keeping the child away from the other parent, you should contact a child custody lawyer.

They will follow the correct legal processes of:

  • notifying the offending parent
  • filing a petition with the courts
  • scheduling a hearing
  • presenting your case to the judge

When one parent is keeping the child from the other parent, you can potentially:

  • have your child custody order revised in your favor
  • get more visitation time

But why do you need to contact a child custody lawyer?

Will the police enforce child custody for you instead?

Will Police Enforce Child Custody?

The police will not enforce child custody.

The only way that police will enforce child custody is if there is a court order for them to.

The court order determining ‘will police enforce child custody’ is a Motion to Enforce.

If there is not a motion to enforce, then the police will not enforce child custody.

This is because child custody is a civil order.

They may show up to prevent a domestic dispute, but that’s all they can do.

When you call them, the police will fill out a report making sure you have a record of what is known as “Visitation Interference.”

The police will not remove the child or children from their mother.

This is true even when you have visitation time that the court-ordered as these are “civil matters.”

An exception may be made if there is an imminent threat of danger or harm to the child or children.

Again, you should contact your child custody lawyer as soon as your ex violates child custody.

But if there is no child custody order in place, the other parent can take the child.

reasons to withhold visitation - mother will not allow father to see child - mother keeping child away from father

Reasons To Withhold Visitation

Withholding a child from another parent can be parental kidnapping.

But since you’re wondering if there is no custody order in place can I take my child, let’s talk about reasons to withhold visitation.

Some reasons to withhold visitation from the other parent include:

  • physical harm to the child
  • domestic violence
  • sexual abuse to the child
  • child abduction or parental kidnapping
  • substance abuse
  • one parent going to jail
  • neglect of the child
  • emotional abuse of the child
  • dangerous living conditions
  • one parent refusing to co-parent
  • the parent allowing the child to miss school
  • exposing the child to dangerous situations
  • violation of court orders

If any of these issues are taking place, let’s talk about your options.

As always, reach out to your child custody lawyer.

They will file a petition with the court to modify or suspend visitation rights.

Child custody laws make the judge do what’s in the best interests of the child.

The child custody lawyer will know how to document the situation and present your case to the judge.

The other parent’s child custody and visitation may get modified or denied if it’s in the child’s best interests.

What if the Mother Will Not Allow Father to See Child?

We’re talking about if there is no custody order in place can I take my child.

But, along those same lines, what if the mother will not allow father to see child?

If there is no custody order in place, then the parents have equal rights to the child.

This means that if the mother will not allow father to see child, then she is violating those rights.

Taking the child away from the father without his consent can be held against the mother in court.

For example, when he files a petition for child custody, this may get held against you.

How to Handle The Mother Keeping Child Away From Father

If the parents were never married and there is no custody order, the mother keeping child away from father is NOT illegal.

If they were married, but there’s no custody order, the mother keeping child away from father IS illegal.

During the marriage, the husband is automatically considered the father.

This is per the child custody laws.

It’s also the case even if the wife was cheating and had the child.

Even if there is no custody order in place can I take my child?

Not in this case.

The ex-husband has equal rights to the child even if there is no custody order in place.

But if the parents were never married?

Then, the mother has full custody of the child.

But how can a mother lose custody of her child?

While she won’t lose full custody, a father can still get custody if the parents were never married.

All he has to do is:

  • have a paternity test completed to prove he is the father
  • file a petition for child custody
  • present his case to the judge

Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child

You’re probably seeing a recurring theme here.

You should contact a child custody lawyer to help you present your case and get child custody.

can unmarried father take child from mother - can a father take a child away from the mother

Can Unmarried Father Take Child From Mother

An unmarried father cannot take a child from the mother.

The mother has legal custody of the child if the parents are not married.

An unmarried father does not have rights to custody or visitation.

An unmarried father has to prove paternity before filing for child custody.

When there is an unmarried father, there is no presumption that he is the father.

An unmarried father will have to prove his paternity.

Without proving paternity, an unmarried father has:

  • no visitation rights
  • no custody rights
  • zero decision-making abilities

How can unmarried fathers take children away from mothers?

Unless the mother is unfit to raise the child, unmarried fathers cannot take children away from mothers.

But an unmarried father can get visitation and custody of the child.

The father either needs to:

  • sign the birth certificate at the hospital, or
  • prove paternity with a paternity test

When he establishes paternity, a father is then able to try to get custody of the child.

The courts will make custody decisions based on what’s in the best interests of the child.

The parents should work together to come up with a custody plan that they agree on.

If they cannot, the courts will make up their own custody and visitation plan for you.

Let’s talk about can a father take a child away from the mother.

Can a Father Take a Child Away From the Mother?

As a father, you’re probably wondering, if there is no custody order in place can I take my child?

Regardless of whether there is no custody order, a father cannot take a child away from the mother.

In order for a father to take a child away from the mother, there has to be a custody order.

If there is no custody order, then the parents have equal rights.

If a father takes a child away from the mother, then he may be committing parental kidnapping.

If there is a child custody order, then he is violating the custody orders.

For the father to take the child away from the mother, he has to file a petition for child custody modification.

He has to provide evidence that the mother is unfit to have custody of the child.

If the Father Signs the Birth Certificate Does He Have Rights

If a father signs the birth certificate does he have rights to the child?

If the father signs the birth certificate, he is:

  • agreeing to the paternity of the child
  • taking legal responsibility for the child

But if the father signs the birth certificate, he does not have rights to visitation or custody.

When the father signs the birth certificate, and the parents are not married, this means that:

  • he owes child support for the child
  • he has zero child custody rights
  • he has zero child visitation rights

For the unmarried father to have rights to the child, he has to:

  • prove his paternity
  • file a petition for child custody

If a married father signs the birth certificate, he does have rights to the child.

Married parents who are divorcing have equal rights to the child.

But who has custody of a child when the parents are not married?

who has custody of a child when the parents are not married - can a mother keep the child away from the father

Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married?

When parents are not married, the mother has automatic custody of a child.

She has full legal and physical custody.

And she can make all major decisions for the child.

An unmarried mother with full legal and physical custody can make decisions on the child’s:

  • home
  • school
  • healthcare
  • vacations and travel
  • extracurricular activities

If she can make ALL of the decisions, can a mother keep the child away from the father?

Can a Mother Keep the Child Away From the Father?

A mother can keep the child away from the father if there is no custody order in place.

If the parents were never married, then the father does not have any legal rights to the child.

The mother can keep the child away from the father until he gets custody.

To get custody, he has to:

  • prove that he is the father
  • file a petition for child custody

So, we know that the mother can keep a child away from the father.

But can a parent take a child out of state without the other parents consent?

can a parent take a child out of state without the other parents consent - will police enforce child custody

Maybe you’re looking to travel.

Maybe you’re trying to move.

But can a parent take a child out of state without the other parent’s consent?

A parent can take a child out of state without the other parent’s consent during the marriage.

But for parents going through a divorce, taking the child out of state without consent can backfire.

This is because the courts may view you as unfit or unable to co-parent.

This can cause you to NOT get majority custody.

It could also make the judge favor the other parent in the child custody decisions.

A parent should not take a child out of state without the other parent’s consent if the parents:

Just to be clear, can my wife take my child out of state without my permission?

Can My Wife Take My Child Out of State Without My Permission

Your wife can take your child out of state without your permission.

If you’re married and there is no court order of custody, it’s legal for the other parent to take your child.

Even for you, if there is no custody order in place can i take my child, the answer is yes.

You can take your child anywhere if you are married and there is no custody order in place.

can a parent take a child out of state with joint custody - can i move with my child without fathers permission

Can a Parent Take a Child Out of State With Joint Custody

We’ve talked about “If there is no custody order in place can I take my child?”

But can a parent take a child out of state with joint custody?

Whether you need permission to take a child out of state with joint custody depends on your custody and visitation orders.

When one parent takes a child out of state with joint custody orders, they make have to:

  • provide notice to the other parent
  • get written or verbal permission from the other parent

Maybe you do not need to get permission from the other parent.

But if you are taking a child out of state with joint custody, it’s important that you get permission anyway.

If you happen to show back up in court, the judge may ask you about your authority to travel.

If there is a custody dispute and you can’t prove that you had permission, you may be up the creek without a paddle.

The other parent can report the child missing.

They can even file a petition for child custody modification.

Use your best judgment.

If a parent takes a child out of state with joint custody, always get proof of permission.

This proof can be text messages or emails.

Traveling out of state is one thing, but can I move my child without the father’s permission?

Can I Move With My Child Without Father’s Permission

If the parents were never married, you can move your child without the father’s permission.

Mothers have full custody and do not need the father’s permission to move.

If the parents have joint custody, then you will need the father’s permission to move with your child.

If you want to move with the child, you’ll need to file a petition for child custody modification.

This is because when you move, the child’s schedule will be different.

And, most likely, this will affect the child custody and visitation order that you have.

This means that you’ll need to get the father’s permission to move with your child.

Over to You

If you are having any child custody issues and would like a free consultation, fill out the form below.

We provide free, no-obligation consultations with our child custody lawyers.

Talk soon.

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