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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?

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.?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you! Would you please clarify what type of order I should file (i.e. child custody)?

Lauren Elizabeth Goodhart

Lauren Elizabeth Goodhart

Posted

I would contact an attorney in Md. They may have a slightly different procedure. Here you need a court with equitable power (meaning they can do more than just award money) to issue an emergency order. Here we would approach our State Superior Court. Not sure there. Clerks of the court can also be helpful. You might even just call the clerk of your local circuit or county court.

Asker

Posted

I will do that. Thank you very much for clarifying and for your advice!

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your advice! I will certainly reach out.

Posted

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/Client Relationship with you. Therefore my answer cannot address your specific legal situation and you should not rely upon my answer in your legal matter. I am an attorney licensed in Maryland and California. Office: (410) 381-1656. David Mahood, Esq.

Asker

Posted

I appreciate your input. I plan on doing so.

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your input. I will certainly take that into consideration as I move forward.

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