I need to move away from an abusive spouse. I have a special needs child and some of my adult children have offered for me and my special needs child to live with them across the country. Can I do this legally if i am still married? Also since I will be separated, can I apply for any govt. support in the new state (CA) while i get on my feet?
If no litigation has been filed you may leave the commonwealth with the child. Massachusetts has a parental kidnapping act, M.G.L.A. c. 265, § 26A. The state law indicates that it is not a crime to remove a child from the Commonwealth for a prolonged period of time if there is no current custody order preventing such removal.
If you are in California for a six month period of time with the child you can then file a custody complaint in California and California will have jurisdiction over the custody issue. If your Husband files before the 6 months in Massachusetts, Massachusetts will have jurisdiction over Custody. In California a judgment of dissolution of marriage may not be entered unless one of the parties to the marriage has been a resident of this state for six months and of the county in which the proceeding is filed for three months next preceding the filing of the petition. You should consult with Counsel in Ca. and Ma. to determine where it would be best to conduct the divorce. It may well be that you have a custody case in California and a divorce case in Massachusetts. As to benefits available in California you should research this on line before you make any plans to move.
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