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Can I Take My Child If I Leave My Husband in NC or SC?

If you are planning to leave your husband and need to know if you can take your child with you when you go, the short answer is no. In North and South Carolina, a parent cannot take their child or children from the family home with the intent of never returning without the knowledge and consent of the other parent. Leaving in such a way can be classed as parental kidnapping, since both parents should have equal rights to the child and your actions violate the father’s rights. 

Maybe you are considering just leaving on your own without taking the child or children with you. Again, this is not advisable. This would be considered abandonment of the child, even if that was not your intention, and could cause problems in future custody hearings. A judge could potentially look at your actions unfavorably and grant custody to the father because of your ill-advised decision to leave. 

Additionally, if you take the child or children and try to leave the state, a judge can order you back to establish custody or for you to file for divorce. States have legal jurisdiction, especially where children are concerned, for six months from the last time that you, or the child, resided there.

If you want to leave the marriage and keep your children with you, it is better to go through the proper channels and make sure everything is done correctly. 

Consult With an Attorney 

In North and South Carolina, the mother and father have equal rights and access to their children unless otherwise stipulated by a court order. So, if you want to leave the marriage but still keep your children, you are going to have to go to court. An attorney can help guide you through the process and help you figure out the best way to move forward in gaining custody of your children. 

Speak With the Father 

As long as you and your child are in a safe situation, meaning there is no abuse in the family home, you should discuss your desire for a divorce with your spouse. If you both can agree to the divorce and how to move forward, things will be easier in the long run. Perhaps you can agree that he will move out during the separation as long as joint custody is maintained, or vice versa. Either way, having this conversation, however difficult, usually makes the process simpler. 

 Young couple arguing in lawyers office in front of a lawyer getting divorced

File for Separation 

A couple must be separated and living apart for one year and one day before they can file for divorce. While there is no requirement to have a separation agreement or property settlement, or even legally file for a separation, it is highly advisable that you move forward with these options. In a separation agreement, you and your soon-to-be-ex can make a plan for how property will be divided, what, if any, child or spousal support will be paid, and most importantly, what type of child custody schedule will be kept. By taking this approach, you can avoid potential unpleasantries or legal issues that could arise if you leave without notice and take the children. 

Follow the Custody Agreement 

Assuming that there are no extenuating circumstances or issues that would be unsafe for the child, it is best that both parents amicably follow the agreed-upon custody arrangement. If you are hoping to ultimately gain sole custody, maintaining the visitation schedule and encouraging your child to have a relationship with their father could work in your favor in future hearings. Courts in North and South Carolina will always focus on the best interests of the child, which includes both parents being involved in the child’s life, where appropriate. So, judges appreciate a parent’s efforts to put their child first. 

Speak With a Lawyer Today 

Whether you are considering divorce, have already separated from your spouse, or just need help navigating child custody agreements, the legal team at Collins Family Law is here to help. We understand that going through a divorce is extremely difficult for everyone involved, and is all the more trying when children are involved. If things have taken a turn for the worst and you are faced with having to prove you are the best parent in court, we can help you with that as well. 

When it comes to divorce and child custody arrangements, you shouldn’t have to face the process alone.  Let our lawyers guide you through every step, to save you having to resort to leaving with your child and facing further issues. If you are considering divorce or separation, give our team a call today to get the advice you need.