Can I leave the state with my son?


I guess my subject says it all. I need to leave my husband, who is a drug addict. I have no family in NC, and would like to move to another state to be by my family, who can help me get back on my feet, both emotionally and financially. How do I go about 1. getting him out until I can leave and 2. can I leave the state with my son, and how do I go about making sure that everything is in order so I can’t be compelled to move back to the state? I would like to try also to get full custody, and do not want to allow my son (3 years old) to be alone with him…can custody be arranged to where he would have to come to us and be supervised? I am so lost, and need out, but just can’t stay in NC when I leave.

As I type this, he’s likely out getting high…it was payday, and he left work about 6 hours ago…hasn’t been home at all.

Please help!


You likely have grounds for what is called a divorce from bed and board, which is essentially a judicial order of separation in which the court can order your husband to leave the residence based on his addiction problems.

As for custody, the best way to ensure that you are not forced to come back to NC is to get an Order on custody prior to leaving the state. Custody is based on what is in the best interests of the child, considering all relevant factors. In this case I would suggest you meet with an attorney to file a claim for divorce from bed and board, and a claim seeking full custody of your child.


How long will that take, and does that automatically put me under jurisdiction of NC for the divorce, or can the state I move to get jurisdiction? What if I don’t have time to get court orders? I’m planning on leaving on Saturday…can I file the papers when I get to my new state, or am I at the mercy of NC? I’m scared, and don’t want to have to come back here.


The length of the case will depend on the court docket in your county. North Carolina is the home state of the children for purposes of a custody action pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act. If you move prior to getting an order your soon to be ex can file an emergency action in North Carolina to force you to return the child.


Another question…can you explain this to me more? I found it on the Rosen site, and from the way I am reading it, as long as my reasons for leaving the state are not solely to evade jurisdiction (ie, to be by family, for safety…), then I am okay to leave with him? Or am I still at risk of him filing an emergency action to make me bring him back? I am so confused, and no lawyer wants to talk to me since I have no money for consultation fees…

"Child custody will be settled between you and your spouse by written agreement or custody will be set out in a court order. For as long as you don’t have some controlling written document, either you or your spouse could try to change the existing custodial arrangement at any time simply by moving a child’s residence. Many couples do not understand that without some written agreement or court order, a child is vulnerable to unpredictable disruption in living arrangements and discontinuity.

Such possible disruption even means that either parent would be completely free to move from an existing county of residence or to leave the State of North Carolina with the children, unless the sole purpose for leaving was to evade the jurisdiction of our courts. Without a written agreement or court order dictating otherwise, the general rule in North Carolina is that each parent has equal rights to the physical possession of a child of the marriage. Hence, relocating the children — in the absence of a written document prohibiting such a move — is not abduction, unless the motivation for moving with the children is to evade the jurisdiction of the North Carolina courts."


If you leave the state with the children with the intention of residing in another state permanently, your spouse may file for emergency custody and you could be forced to return. The article is referring to your freedom to leave without being prosecuted for parental kidnapping. North Carolina is the home state of the children pursuant to the law and jurisdiction is proper here.