Brooklyn, NY asked in Family Law for New York

Q: Good morning I had a fire and I let my daughter stay with her father to go to school now he doesn't want to give her bac

I went and got her yesterday now he is telling me to bring her back or I am going to jail what can I do

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3 Lawyer Answers
Sandra M. Colatosti
Sandra M. Colatosti
Answered
  • ALBANY, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If you do not already have a custody order, you should file a custody petition in Family Court.

Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Lawrence Allen Weinreich
Answered
  • Garden City, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: You didn't make it clear if there is a custody order. If there is such an order, the order controls until it is changed by the court. If you have custody and you voluntarily allowed your daughter to live with the father for a period of time and then picked up your daughter, you cannot be sent to jail and haven't violated the order. If there is no order, you both have equal custody and again can't be put in jail for taking your daughter. However, if there is no order it is highly recommended that you get a custody order.

Racquel A. Cousins
PREMIUM
Racquel A. Cousins
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Hello - You would not go to jail unless you broke the law. Going to pick up your daughter from her father's house, even though she has been staying with him for a while does not constitute breaking in the law, all else being equal. I am going to assume that there is no custody order in place indicating who has physical/residential custody of your daughter. If I am correct in my assumption then you should go to the Family Court in your county as soon as possible and file a custody petition and have your daughter's father served ASAP. You will both have to go to court and get a judge to establish formal custody of your daughter. I hope that helps.

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