Did Ex Mother-in-Law Commit Breaking and Entering?

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“I am going through a divorce which has been going on for one year now. Christmas Eve was part of my week with my children, my wife called the police and instructed the police that she has temporary custody and wants to have her children back.  As I was talking with the police officer inside my house, my mother-in-law opened my already shut front door and called for my three year old son.  As my son was close to the door my mother-in-law grabbed my son and ran down the front steps of my house to her waiting car.  My wife and mother-in-law tried to leave the scene with my three year old son. She was stopped by the police.

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Is this considered breaking and entering?  Is this considered trespassing?  What can I do in either situation above?”

What an unfortunate series of events during the holiday.  Breaking and entering and trespassing are concepts that are very specific to the facts of a situation, and the events on that day seem to fall into a gray area in the law.  If there is an attorney handling your divorce and custody and who is familiar with your case, you should contact that attorney about the events.  Otherwise, you can find an attorney who practices family law (hopefully with a free consultation), who can help guide you through this complicated issue.

That said, the issues of breaking and entering and trespass are specific to property and criminal law, so you may need to ask your family law attorney for a referral.

All that said, bringing criminal charges against your son’s grandmother is not going to help to foster an atmosphere of familial cooperation, which you want to be always seen as doing – you always want to be the cooperative one.  So a better strategy might be to have your family law attorney bring this behavior to the Court’s attention.  The judge will not be amused, and the outcome could include more time for you with your children.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.