Md. vs. Pa: Do I need to go through the courts to rescue my children if there is no child custody order and I suspect abuse?

Asked 10 months ago - Owings Mills, MD

My 3 kids lived with me with no contact/child support from their father for 7 years after we escaped a domestic violence situation & we divorced (no child custody/support order in place). In 2012, I communicated with their father, who was civil at the time, to help my unruly teens straighten out their behavior. This summer I let the kids stay with him, while my youngest child stayed home. I've only been allowed to see my older kids a few times. In the past month, the father refuses to let me (mom) speak with or see them. My daughter, 16, expressed via email their fear of him that he & his fiancé get drunk, smoke weed, are verbally & emotionally abusive & refuse to let them contact me. I also learned their father has a DUI (weed). I live in Md. Will I break any laws if I take them from Pa.?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Richard D. Lebovitz

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . I am licensed in both Pennsylvania and Maryland. If no order then nothing to violate. But should file complaint on state where children resided for past 6 months. Courts tend to defer to children over 16 as to where they want to live.

  2. David Raymond Mahood

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . You really should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options because you are dealing with a number of intricate factors.

    Office: (410) 381-1656. This is NOT legal advice, is GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY, and does NOT establish an Attorney/... more
  3. Jeffrey P Nesson

    Contributor Level 14

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You are running into jurisdictional issues very soon if you don't do something. You certainly can go and remove the children.

    This is not to be considered legal advise and no attorney client has been established.
  4. Lauren Elizabeth Goodhart

    Contributor Level 12

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . It is always safer to have a court order. You should be able to obtain an order in Md. and then ask a Pa. court to enforce it.

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