There are federal and state laws in place that prevent a parent from removing a child from the other parent simply to deny visitation or custody. While these laws are written with the best interests of families in mind, there are instances where they complicate an already volatile situation.
Physical and Emotional Abuse in a Marriage
One of the most common examples of these situations is domestic violence and abuse. If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you are likely in a very difficult emotional and legal position. This is particularly true if you have decided to take your children from your home without the knowledge and consent of their abusive father.
If a woman leaves with her children, she risks facing parental kidnapping charges and the legal mess that results, including the possibility that the children’s father may be granted at least temporary custody. If she decides to stay, she will likely face continuing abuse, and all the physical and emotional damage that an abusive relationship has on her and her children.
Removing Children From an Abusive Home
While courts sometimes will look with understanding upon a woman who flees with her children because of domestic violence, laws vary from state to state and there is no universal guarantee that an abused woman will not be charged with parental kidnapping.
There are varying types of abuse and some are more difficult to prove than others. A woman who is being verbally degraded on a daily basis may have the same need to escape her predicament, but less tangible proof of ill-treatment than physical abuse. This is why it is important for women in any abusive relationship to seek legal help as soon as possible.
Contacting a Virginia Divorce Lawyer
If you are in an abusive relationship and are considering leaving with your children, your best course of action is to contact your local authorities and a women’s shelter or safe house in your area. This way, you and your children can get the help you need to leave the situation legally and safely.
Next, you should contact a Virginia divorce lawyer to help you sort through custody issues and all other divorce-related matters. An attorney that focuses on women’s divorce in Virginia will thoughtfully and thoroughly consider all of the legal factors involved in a domestic abuse victim’s divorce.
For more information about the rules dictating when you may or may not remove your child from a custodial home, visit our article library.
Your Virginia divorce lawyer should care about your rights, the welfare and happiness of your children, and your financial security. Let the attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm use our unique experience and legal expertise to help you focus on your goals for the future and your family. To learn more about Virginia divorce, request a FREE copy of our guide, What Every Virginia Woman Should Know About Divorce, or reserve your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-425-5200.