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Is it true she has no rights? If he tries to argue for custody, how does it all work?

Q: My Sister (a British Citizen) has lived in New York for the last 5 years, on a worrking visa. She married an American Citizen in September 2014, and had a baby in December 2014. The marraige has now broken down (she believes he has commited adultery, and there has also been violence involved). She is still living in the apartment as she cannot afford to move out. She works 12 hours per week, and uses all of her money to feed herself and her baby, as the father pays the rent and bills, but refuses to pay anything towards the baby. She has asked for a divorce, but he has refused, claiming they can still be a happy family, although everytime she is away for more than a day he brings another woman into the apartment. She wants to move home to the UK permanently but he is claiming he can press charges for parental kidnapping, and she is very worried and upset by this. The baby has dual citizenship. She has been to see a lawyer in New York who has told her that the father has all the rights and she has none. She is coming home for christmas and the baby's birthday and plans to stay indefinately.

A: David's Answer: I'd disagree with the other attorney's assessment that she has "no rights." But I'd also recommend against her plan to "stay indefinitely" in the UK without either father's express permission or court permission. Her "rights" are that she should file for divorce and request an order of custody permitting relocation to the UK. If she wishes to relocate sooner rather than later, then she may wish to consider filing in Family Court first, as those proceedings tend to go faster. Have her call a NYC Divorce attorney to schedule a consult for a full assessment. -- David Bliven, Bronx Divorce Attorney, (

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