I Want to Leave My Abusive Husband. Can I Take Our Son to Another State?

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.

‘My husband became physical with me the other day in front of our 3 year old son. I didn’t call the cops because he left no marks so I figured it would be a he said/she said deal. Not to mention the verbal and emotional abuse I’ve been dealing with for years. I want to leave him and take my son to Ohio with me so we can be with all of my family. Will I get in trouble if I do this before getting a divorce or taking him to court for custody?’

Question: If no order has been rendered by the court (temporary or otherwise) then typically both parents are seen as having equal rights to having their children with them. However, taking your child out of state can be seen by the Court as an inappropriate action, and if your husband files for divorce after you leave, the Court may award temporary custody to your husband in order to ensure that your son is returned to the state until there is a court order addressing both custody and parenting time. For that reason, if at all possible, it is usually better to have these things taken care of before removing a child from their state of residence.