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Can I take my son and refuse to return him to his mother?

Q:My child’s mother and I have never been married but we both signed the birth certificate. Just recently she told me she was moving to Indiana and refuses to let me see or talk to him. She never discussed the move with me and doesn’t care how I feel about her taking the child. She Just called today to tell me she will be leaving in a day or two but will allow me to see my son once before they leave. Please note, I haven’t spoken to or seen my son in weeks prior to this phone call. If I pick him up and decide I wanna keep him for more than a few days. Can i get in trouble? I’m also a convicted felon but wish to file for joint custody and visitation rights, can I keep him and file those papers while refusing to return him to his mother??? There are no prior custody agreements between us. 

A:If the child’s currently in the de facto custody of the mother, then you would be wrong to retain custody. Your remedy is to file for custody as well as an “order to show cause” requesting an interim order preventing her from relocating the residence of the child. Schedule a consult with a Bronx Family Law attorney for a full assessment. 

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