If you file for divorce and request custody, once you have her served there is an automatic restraining order issued preventing her from removing the baby.
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While filing a Petition for a divorce and having it served on wife does make the automatic restraining order effective as to wife's removal of the child, it only prohibits wife from removing the child from the State of California, not from removing the child from the home. Under this scenario, husband should consider bringing an Order to Show Cause ("OSC") before the court seeking a custody order of the child, which will then be enforcable by the police. Time is of the essence as it would be unwise to allow wife to keep the child away from husband for a long period of time.
Yes, she's free to go where she likes. But if you filed a petition for dissolution, that would automatically impose court orders on both of you not sell property, change insurance, etc. (please see the Summons below) and would prevent her from leaving the state with your child. You may not have a choice about a dissolution, based on what you've written she plans to dp.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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