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Can I just take my daughters with me, and not return them back to the mother? and petition for physical custody?

Q: I am a male in the navy, I am about to leave the Navy in 5 months, but I am also in the process of divorcing my wife as she abandoned me, and I have proof she has been cheating. I have also observe how unfit of a mother she is, I am always with my daughters and I can prove it as well, as I am the one who solely provides for them financially. I have also been told by my wifes oldest daughter who is not mines, but whom I raised for the past 7 years of being married to my wife, that her mom leaves them home alone for a run to the supermarket. Isn’t that considered negligence? I want to move back to N.y. and was wondering if I can just take my daughters with me and not return them back since we both do have custody, and just petition out in New York for physical custody? By the way I am residing in California.

A: David’s Answer: If the mother has de facto custody, then you cannot just “take” the children away form her as that would constitute the crime of “custodial interference.” Assuming the children lives here in New York, then your best bet is to file a custody petition and press for a custody trial. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Child Custody attorney for a full assessment. 

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