Divorce & Custody: What Are Your Options When One Parent Takes a Child? (Part 2)

Read Part 1: Divorce & Family Separation: Sharing My Story

There are so many questions that go unanswered in a separation. Maybe that is why it’s so tough to get over – everything seems so unresolved. Even after going to court. Or maybe even more so after going to court. Where people get up on the stand and lie. Or they paint their story a little better than you did.

I was really sad for the dad of the child this past Father’s Day. It was the first Father’s Day he spent not being a father.

Because I have children of my own and because I know that unfathomable love you feel for your children. I just don’t understand how he gets through a day without being angry that the mom just took his child.

…..

Back to the week that the child was taken to another part of the country by the mom.

What are your real options when one parent takes the child and refuses visitation, or worse, doesn’t even let you know where the child is?

Very, very surprisingly, the answer is: there isn’t a lot you can do as the ‘other parent’.

You can’t claim kidnapping. You can’t get the police to go after them. You aren’t supposed to go banging on their door demanding the kid back.

The one option that they tell you about when a child is taken and the spouse is unresponsive, is to file an Emergency Court Order. This will involve the police. And things can get awfully messy if you do. It also involves waiting for court dates. Which will work against you (the longer you go without seeing the child, the less likely you are going to get custody).

In this dad’s situation, he didn’t want things to get messy. He still felt the situation was salvageable. We all didn’t dream that it would come to what it came to today. If he had known that the mom was going to relentlessly keep the child from him, he may have taken different steps. But he still wanted to see if the mom and him could work on co-parenting this child.

He was wrong for doing the ‘right thing.’ He was worse off for staying complacent and trying to do things ‘legally.’

After the mom refused free mediation. She demanded that the issue of custody be brought to court. So, dad had no choice but to spend thousands to try get to court to see his child. The thing is. Court dates take months and months.

So, the emails back and forth started. Pleading to see his child and requesting to know their whereabouts. Sometimes the mom would respond, other times she would just ignore any questions asked.

Weeks started to creep by somehow. But the dad was doing everything right, wasn’t he? The lawyer said keep emailing. The lawyer said beware of what you say. So it ended up that nothing was really said. The only action happening was a growing legal bill.

….to be continued, Part 3: The Involvement of Extended Family…

 

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