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February 17, 2021

Can I Take My Child When I Leave My Spouse?

Women with a child in Yosemite valley looking up at the valley walls in a field of grass

You know you want a divorce, and you are ready to leave your marriage. Yet you worry about your child. You want them to come with you, but if you leave your husband or wife, can you take your child?

The short answer is no — you can’t just take your child with you when you leave a marriage. South Carolina law doesn’t allow it. In fact, if you remove your child from your home without telling your spouse or without their consent, you could be accused of parental kidnapping. Both parents have equal rights to the children per South Carolina law. If you leave with the child, you infringe on the other person’s rights.

Don’t try to get around this law by moving out of South Carolina with your child. Even if you leave the state, you are still subject to South Carolina law for six months after the date you or your child left. So what can you do?

What to Do If You Want a Divorce

If you want a divorce, you shouldn’t just leave your house without your kids, either. If you move out without informing your spouse, you could be accused of abandonment. A judge could take this factor into consideration when deciding a court order of custody.

In a situation where there is no type of abuse occurring, your best course of action is to talk with your spouse and tell them you want a divorce. Being honest and putting your feelings out there can begin a dialogue that will lead to a more productive way of ending your marriage. Both of you will need to go to court to get a child custody agreement, and staying on good terms will help the process flow much more smoothly.

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You may be able to reach a friendly agreement for the initial separation. Your spouse may be OK with moving out and seeing the kids on a schedule you both agree to follow.

Remember, before you file for divorce, you need to meet some requirements in South Carolina, including living apart for a year. It may be easier if you draw up a separation agreement, which can address concerns such as:

  • Who gets the kids and when.
  • What to do with all your property.
  • Whether any child support is necessary, how much it will be, and who will pay it.

Protecting Your Children

If your husband or wife is abusive and you want to take the kids when you leave, you should also be careful. The best way to keep your children safe is to consult a family law attorney and discuss how to get a temporary protective order. You need to keep your actions within the law, but you also want to keep your kids safe. You do have rights, and a lawyer can keep you from violating any laws as you make this important change.

The experienced team at Lauren Taylor Law can help you leave your husband or wife and protect your children, too. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Can I Take My Child When I Leave My Spouse?
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Can I Take My Child When I Leave My Spouse?
Parents have equal rights to child custody in SC. Learn more about these laws and what to do in this situation.
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Lauren Taylor Law Firm
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