Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
Can my husband whom I am separated from take our daughters over state lines without my permission? Neither of us have filed for divorce or custody. I took our daughters over to see him and let them spend the night. When I called him to come pick them up he said he’s not letting me have them back and he is going to leave [the state] with them. Can he do this legally? I called the police and the officer said since we’re married there is nothing I can do. But other people have said that since he doesn’t have sole custody that he has to have my permission to take them over state lines; that he can’t just leave with them.
Under most state laws, if there is no custody order restricting a parent from traveling with their children across state lines, then they are free to do so. If you file for divorce, you can request an exparte order for your children to be returned back to your home state. Depending on the nature of the matter, the court may request the immediate return of your daughters pending a temporary court order hearing. You should contact a local family law attorney to fully discuss your options.