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My Sister's Son Legally Kidnapped by the Father. Positive thoughts/Prayers Please

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Can't/won't really get too deep into it, so here's the short(er) version:

 

*Mikey is a developmentally delayed, special needs (possibly Autistic) 5 year old.  About 5 months ago, my sister broke up with his father *John, about 4 months after John moved from NY to PA in an attempt to find work (and with the secret hope that my sister would then move to PA to be with him).  He ended up getting a part time job at WalMart, something he could have done here and kept the family together.  It's a 4 hour drive, each way.

 

There was never any legal custody agreement.  Mikey lived with my sister and my parents, and John would take him here and there for a few weeks at a time.  Well, this all changed a month ago, when John called my sister to tell her his car broke down and it would be a few more weeks until he could bring Mikey back.  She was disappointed, but understanding.  Two weeks later, my sister received a certified letter in the mail.  John has registered Mikey for kindergarten, signed him up for state funded health insurance, gotten him vaccinated (my sister is no-vax since Mikey displayed signs of Autism) and has petitioned the PA court system for sole custody.

 

When my sister and I drove up to visit Mikey, John insisted it only be at a public place (he chose McDonalds 5 min from his house) and brought with him 3 members of his family (one who was video taping the whole interraction) as well as the police to make sure my sister didn't try to take her son back.  He is insisting that this is the only way he will let her visit Mikey.  So basically anyone--including his own mother--wanting to see him will have to drive an 8 hr round trip just to visit with him for an hour or so in a small McDonalds.

 

Because Mikey is physically with John right now, and he is the father, what he is doing is perfectly legal.  My sister is beside herself, missing her son like crazy and doesn't have the money for a lawyer right now.  She is keeping a log of every negative thing John says, each time John doesn't let Mikey say goodnight to my sister, etc.

 

Advice, prayers, positive thoughts all welcome.

 

Thanks,

Kelly

post #2 of 25

Oh wow, that sucks, I'm sorry.  Can your sister file for sole custody also?  I don't see what grounds he has to do this, so I don't know how successful he'll be in court. 

post #3 of 25

My thoughts are with your family - what a rough situation!

post #4 of 25

I'm very sorry she's going through this. 

 

She absolutely needs a lawyer right away -- and you don't need money, to be honest. There are many places that offer free services, and many lawyers take cases on pro-bono as part of their practice. The easiest way to 'connect' with these folks is to start with the phone book. She should be able to find a legal aid office quickly, and they can advise her. In the alternative, she should check with the local law schools to see if they have clinics that would deal with family law issues. 

 

Good luck!

post #5 of 25

No snark intended but what's stopping her from driving down and simply taking the child back? What's the family going to do? Call the police? Get violent with her? What? The police won't do anything, she's his mom after all and there's no legal agreement saying the father has custody or even visitation.

 

And how does he expect to support this child? By working part time at walmart? Right.

Good luck, I hope her child's home soon : )

post #6 of 25

That is so rough. I'm sorry for your family and that poor little boy who must be getting confused. I have no advice. I don't understand how the police could be there enforcing this since there is no custody agreement. Can she simply go there with an officer and take him back, seeing as his place of residence has been with your sister?

 

I hope it goes well and good luck.

post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by childsplay View Post

No snark intended but what's stopping her from driving down and simply taking the child back? What's the family going to do? Call the police? Get violent with her? What? The police won't do anything, she's his mom after all and there's no legal agreement saying the father has custody or even visitation.

 

And how does he expect to support this child? By working part time at walmart? Right.

Good luck, I hope her child's home soon : )


Yeah I'm really not understanding it either...I would go kidnap him right back. His family is there watching? I say, let them watch as I take my own son back. 

 

post #8 of 25

You can often file things yourself in court without a lawyer,which is what I have done.Tell your sister to go do that before he does.Then go down to PA with a dozen family/friends and take the boy back.I doubt the father is addressing the sons medical needs.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

She can't take him back because she literally would need to wrestle him away from John and toss him in a car.  The police were there to ensure Mikey's safety (ie, that the parents didn't get into a tug-of-war over him).  The family was there to block the exits if she were to get physical possession of Mikey, which happened twice.

 

Believe me, we tried.  I got him to the car and was about to buckle him up (in my sisters company) when the officer threatened to arrest me for obstruction of custodianship.  Apparently my sister has to be the only one to escourt the child into the vehicle.  She's a skinny 5'2" little thing.  John is a 5'10" overweight bully, and his family is just as large and intimidating.

 

John already filed for sole custody in PA, so my sister would need to find a lawyer down there, no? He's claiming that he and Mikey have lived in PA for the past year, when that is very far from the truth.

post #10 of 25

I am just so sorry for your family right now.  I have no advice.  I just couldn't read and not post.  I'm so sorry.  Your sister needs a good lawyer. 

post #11 of 25

Well, as his claim is false it won't bode well for him once there is a court date.

 

Many law schools can practice in multiple states, particularly those in NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD. Legal aid offices or the free clinics at the law schools can either A. help her directly or B. get her help with someone who does. Just call them? what are you (and she) waiting for?

 

It is friday in North American. 4 in the afternoon. CALL NOW.

post #12 of 25


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieMonsterMommy View Post

She can't take him back because she literally would need to wrestle him away from John and toss him in a car.  The police were there to ensure Mikey's safety (ie, that the parents didn't get into a tug-of-war over him).  The family was there to block the exits if she were to get physical possession of Mikey, which happened twice.

 

Believe me, we tried.  I got him to the car and was about to buckle him up (in my sisters company) when the officer threatened to arrest me for obstruction of custodianship.  Apparently my sister has to be the only one to escourt the child into the vehicle.  She's a skinny 5'2" little thing.  John is a 5'10" overweight bully, and his family is just as large and intimidating.

 

John already filed for sole custody in PA, so my sister would need to find a lawyer down there, no? He's claiming that he and Mikey have lived in PA for the past year, when that is very far from the truth.

Oh wow. greensad.gif I'm glad you two did try to take him physically to the car because she is within her rights. That is so tricky. Ugh. My friend just went through something like this and she literally hid her daughters and the custody hearing went on for two years. I pray it goes fast for her and she gets her boy.
 

 

post #13 of 25

No advice here, just sending you, your sis, her son & the rest of your family lots of hug2.gif. I hope this all gets resolved soon!

post #14 of 25

She needs a good lawyer who practices in PA. Credit cards, borrow the money - whatever she has to do. She cannot enter into this issue w/o legal representation and expect it to turn out well. The very very last things she should do is kidnap the child back. The courts will not like that. The father is not going to "play fair" in this, and it sounds like he planned to do this for some time. His family (e.g. his parents) may be encouraging him to keep the child.

post #15 of 25

I have no advice (don't even know the law on this in my own Province, let alone in her state, or his!). I just wanted to say I'm sorry she's going through this, and I hope everything turns out okay. And, I agree with other posters - she needs to lawyer up, one way or another.

post #16 of 25

If she has proof that Mikey has been living with her full time up until this happened then she needs to go and cross file ASAP where she lives. She should file ex parte and tell the judge that the father has taken the boy out of state and he has filed there under false pretenses and he refuses to let her see her own son for any length of time. Jurisdiction lies where the child has lived continuously for the last 6 months. She should run to her local court house tomorrow a.m. to file. Take whatever proof she has that the boy lives with her.

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Avani View Post

If she has proof that Mikey has been living with her full time up until this happened then she needs to go and cross file ASAP where she lives. She should file ex parte and tell the judge that the father has taken the boy out of state and he has filed there under false pretenses and he refuses to let her see her own son for any length of time. Jurisdiction lies where the child has lived continuously for the last 6 months. She should run to her local court house tomorrow a.m. to file. Take whatever proof she has that the boy lives with her.



This.  And Avani knows what she is talking about too well.  The father should not be able to file custody if the child has not been living with him for 6 months so your sister needs to act fast.  There are clerks that can give her the basic papers at the courthouse to fill out and there us usually a small fee.  She needs to get that started and then she can worry about getting a lawyer. 

post #18 of 25

In my state, cops won't enforce an existing custody/visitation order, so I can't imagine cops actually doing what was described here.  It's disgusting!  Will they seriously not let your sister take her son home?  That can't even be legal.  I'm sorry this is happening to you all.

post #19 of 25
If he does go to Kindergarten (I know this is a while away) is there really anything stopping her from just picking him up from school and bringing him back home? Where is Mickey when her is at work? I know she would have to wrestle Mickey's dad, but if she came to get him while Mickey was being watched by someone else, she could just take you and another person with her. 3 against one of his family members?

IDK, I cant imagine what you sister must be going through. My parents did this with me time and time again. My mother even stole me out of bed in the middle of the night once. (legally, other than I guess she was trespassing).
post #20 of 25

Awwwh so sorry to hear :(  This is why you ALWAYS need to get some kind of written, court-ordered agreement about custody if you aren't married!!!

 

Legally, your sister may NOT be able to just 'grab him' as the father has filed. They could rule SHE is kidnapping him depending on how far things have gone with the filing. It's going to vary state by state, but he's establishing PA as Mikey's legal residence by seeing a doctor, enrolling in school, etc. They really may not care much about if he can support the child or not....he has physical custody currently, and SHE could be ordered to pay child support.

 

She needs an attorney ASAP. You all should be focusing on getting money together for that, and/or getting her to a free legal clinic ASAP! All the things he's done--vaxxing, enrolling in school, filing for custody, supervised visitation, etc. are all perfectly legal since they had no court ordered agreement. He is the father and within his rights if there is no agreement.  I'm assuming that PA must be similar to my home state of Montana in that lacking a court ordered parenting plan, the parent with physical custody is the custodial parent.

 

If she doesn't get on this soon, she's going to lose custody and end up paying CS as a non-custodial parent.

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