How do I protect my children from being taken by their mother is she has not filed for a divorce?

Question:

How do I protect my children from being taken by their mother who has left me and them but has not filed for a divorce?

My wife left me and our 2 children about 10 months ago. Neither of us have filed any separation or divorce papers. I have tried to get her see a counselor with me – she refuses, I have tried to make arrangements for her to see the kids – she blows it off. I have had both children all the time. She does not financially or physically care for them. She is living in a home that is also occupied by a man that I have an order of protection against because of threats made to my life, so she cannot take the children to where she is living – the only way she can see our kids is if she comes to my home and she does not like that. I fear that she may just leave with the children and that I have no legal protection. Our children are 3 and 5 years old.

Answer:

You must file a Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation to get a court order and make sure your wife does not leave with the kids. It appears from the information you provided that you are trying to get her to attend counselling in order to reconcile. You do not appear to be making headway on that issue. Therefore the only option you have to protect the situation is to file the paperwork referred to above. Unfortunately the desire to reconcile is not, at this time, consistant with keeping with your desire to ensure the children come back to you after seeing their mother. Your choices are not ideal but I feel you must make your decisions based upon what is happening now. If circumstances change in the future reconciliation may become possible.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

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