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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

    Default Getting a Custody Order After a Child is Relocated Without Consent

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Missouri

    My wife filed for divorce, and 2 days later packed my daughters (5.5yo) and her things up while I was at work and moved. She relocated 3 hours away in Kansas, and only told me about the divorce/relocation as they were leaving town.

    I have been providing a nominal amount of child support, as well as voluntary helping my wife with bills. After 5.5 months, at a pre-trial conference with a judge, she is bringing up allegations if child abuse in response to me wanting my daughter to live closer. During this time I have had my daughter 41% of the time, and even had my wife sign and notarized a letter that let me take my daughter in a 2 week vacation with a stop outside of the US.

    There are absolutely no medical or police reports to corroborate the abuse claims. I do discipline my daughter by spanking, and that is what my wife has a problem with.

    Currently there will be a guardian ad litum assigned to investigate the claims. Does anyone know what exactly the guardian ad litum will be considering, and what are my chances if getting my daughter back into the state?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,207

    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    Quote Quoting Tallguy82
    View Post
    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Missouri

    My wife filed for divorce, and 2 days later packed my daughters (5.5yo) and her things up while I was at work and moved. She relocated 3 hours away in Kansas, and only told me about the divorce/relocation as they were leaving town.

    I have been providing a nominal amount of child support, as well as voluntary helping my wife with bills. After 5.5 months, at a pre-trial conference with a judge, she is bringing up allegations if child abuse in response to me wanting my daughter to live closer. During this time I have had my daughter 41% of the time, and even had my wife sign and notarized a letter that let me take my daughter in a 2 week vacation with a stop outside of the US.

    There are absolutely no medical or police reports to corroborate the abuse claims. I do discipline my daughter by spanking, and that is what my wife has a problem with.

    Currently there will be a guardian ad litum assigned to investigate the claims. Does anyone know what exactly the guardian ad litum will be considering, and what are my chances if getting my daughter back into the state?
    Why spank if the other parent is opposed to it? No one can predict your odds. The GAL will be looking at the total picture. Who has been the child's primary caretaker?

  3. #3
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    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    And what you think of as spanking, may not be the same was what Mom, or indeed the State, considers spanking.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    The mother has been the primary care taker as she was a stay at home mom. My daughter and I are actually much closer now than before as I have had to put my daughter in front of my work obligations.

    It bothers me that I haven't been limited in spending time with my daughter, so the abuse allegations seem to have come out of nowhere. I have no problem with my wife having primary custody if she would live closer.

    You are right that I am at the mercy of the GAL, and can't predict what their investigation will find. This week the GAL will be appointed and hopefully in the next month I will have the answer.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    Dad, did you actually file to have the child/ren returned pending a custody hearing? I'm thinking "no", but clarification would help a great deal.

    Also, are they in school yet? In Kansas?

  6. #6
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    Jul 2014
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    4

    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    I haven't filed to have the child returned. I have filed a countersuit requesting custody. All court documents I have filed (answer, countersuit, interrogatories/discovery) have made a point to say that I am not for this. My wife made the comment that she isn't moving back, and if I want to try, to get ready for a fight (hence the abuse allegations).

    My daughter will start kindergarten in Kansas around August 13th. According to my lawyer, the judge wouldn't make any changes to my disgusted daily life until school is out in December. On the plus side, the judge said that he could give me full custody if the child abuse allegations are false.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    What exactly is the Judge going to do when the report comes back "unsubstantiated" or "unfounded"? These two commonly used findings do not indicate wrongdoing by the parent. Proving that the allegations are false is a high burden to meet and the court needs to be very careful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    4

    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    Hopefully the judge will decide that my daughter needs to reside in Missouri, so either I get custody or my wife and I get joint custody.

    Overall it is a bum deal all around, especially for my daughter. I know that if I don't fight to see my daughter now the chances of me getting that option as she grows older get smaller.

    Hopefully in a month or two I will have an answer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    576

    Default Re: Divorce/Child Custody when Child Was Relocated Without Consent

    You should have immediately filed to have your child returned, at which point your odds would have been better. Six months later with no action on your part will only make it more difficult.

    If mom is basing a claim of abuse on spanking alone, she will need evidence of your intent to inflict serious physical harm that is outside of reasonable discipline or accident. Missouri statutes, 568.060(9), expressly excludes parental spanking from the definition of abuse, unless the corporal punishment is clearly shown to be excessive. The legal presumption is parents do have a right to spank as a form of discipline. The burden is on Mom to prove dad clearly exceeded that right, not on dad to prove he did not.

    And don't believe for a minute you are at the mercy of a GAL. Their recommendation is only that, and can be challenged by your attorney if necessary. The legal requirements to be GALs in many states are surprisingly low to negligible. The judge has an absolute right to accept or disregard any or all of the GAL's recommendations.

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