Can I take my children out of the state while divorcing?

Question Detail

My permanent residence is in Washington State with my four minor children. However my husband left to California to live with his parents eight months ago when we began to have marital problems. I recently in January came to California with the two youngest children to try to save my marriage and pursue marital counseling. I was served with divorce papers at the beginning of this month in California, and have recently found out I have ovarian cancer. I would like to go back to my permanent residence with my two children to pursue cancer treatment until the court date. Is it illegal for me to take my children back to our home until the court date? Or do I need permission from the court?

Attorney Michael Fischer

 Mike’s Answer:

Because you have been served with divorce documents, you cannot remove the children from the state. On the back of the Summons are ATROS (Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders). These orders state that absent a court order or the written consent of the other party, the children are not to be removed from the state. However, you can file a motion to request permission to move back to Washington with the children. You will need to respond to the divorce documents within 30 days. Given the complexity of your case, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney.


Category: Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law

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