My wife recently moved out of state with our children without my permission and informed me she is not returning.
She is planning on enrolling the children in school while she is living at her parents' house.
My question is what order or motion do I need to file next to try and get my kids back home so they can go back to school and be around their friends until this divorce and parenting plan can be finalized?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
Time is of the essence in your case since your wife has removed your children from the jurisdiction. Where I practice, custody can be handled separately from divorce.
You should be sure to file a complaint seeking custody right away, and then ensure a judge is assigned to your case. You will then need to present an Emergency Motion to the appropriate judge seeking to return the children to the jurisdiction. You also may want to ask the court to establish an interim custody schedule that you and your wife can follow while the custody litigation moves forward.
It will be up to the judge to decide whether or not he/she will issue an order requiring your wife to return the children to the jurisdiction. If the judge issues an order you should then file it with the Department of Court Records (or similar department depending on your state) for the court in the county where you reside.
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State laws will determine how long children must reside in a jurisdiction before a custody action can be brought there. Typically, children must live in the jurisdiction for six months immediately preceding a custody action. This is why I encourage you to act quickly, because if too much time passes then your wife may be able to file for custody in the state she is now living in with the children.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.