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My ex husband was living in Ill. I live in Nevada. The kids were with him in Ill. I got the divorce here in nevada but since the kids didnt live here no custody was ever given. Our divorce papers say- courts have no jurisdiction. Last thursday night I called to talk to them and my ex's family (whom he was staying with) told me they had a fight and he packed up everything and and left with the kids. Nobody would tell me where they went and they hung up on me. The following morning I had the police go out there and his family said he was moving to california. its now saturday and I still havent heard a word from them. I am beyond worried....he does not know anyone in california so I have no idea where he would take the boys. I know he could never get an apartment cause his credit is so bad. I am so worried. What should I do next. I need to know if my boys are safe but I dont know what to do or who to call. Remember, nobody has legal custody of them. Please help!!!!!!!!!!!! Robin

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I find it astonishing that a court would grant a divorce when the matter of custody has not yet been decided. I find it even more astonishing that you would sign the divorce papers when that had not yet been settled.


But if what you say is true, then it would seem the two of you share custody. In that case, unfortunately he does have the right to pack up the kids and move wherever he likes. This would not be considered kidnapping.


You will have to find out where he has gone. Maybe a private investigator will be of assistance. They can track your ex husband in many ways. Once you find out where he is, then you can start a custody proceeding and get a temporary order at least guaranteeing you visitation, if not temporary custody.


I do not think the police or the FBI will be of much assistance in this case.


Good luck, I hope you find them quickly!

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ok so here is the extended information needed. I agreed to let the kids stay with him because they are 16 and 13 year old boys who didnt want to leave there friends! He was in Ill and I moved to nevada to take care of my dying mother. (i now know it wasnt a good idea-i didnt realize this would happen) I ended up filing for divorce here in nevada representing myself. I put in the paperwork about getting custody. I had him served and he defaulted. When it came time for the judge to sign the decree they kicked back saying I couldnt put custody issues in because the kids never lived in nevada. I refiled an ammended petition and had him reserved which he also ignored and defaulted. When I went in front of the judge for my divorce he said he would grant the divorce but no custody since the kids never lived here. He granted the divorce but told me no body had legal custody of the kids. There wasnt even visitation ordered. word for word I had to write on the decee


"The courts have no jurisdiction for custody or visitation issues because children reside in Ill."


He also has never filed for custody in Ill. And now.........well, read the first post and that will tell you what has happened. My ex has never been thrilled with the divorce but when I talked to him last week he seemed friendly. We discussed the boys coming out here for summer break, even told me it was good to talk to me again. I have called the boys every single day they have been apart including sending money clothes and presents. I have not ignored my boys. I am so worried now. I dont want to get my ex in trouble but I NEED to know where my boys are and that they are safe!!! Please help!!!!!

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Well, this doesn't help you now but you should have filed for custody in Illinois. But I won't get into that because its too late and I don't want to make you feel any worse.


This is a strange situation, but I still do not think the authorities will help you. Since custody has not yet been determined the authorities will not do anything against your ex. What he has done is perfectly legal. Morally wrong, but legal.


So that leaves you on your own. It sounds like you have already tried his family and they were no help. How about his friends? Or his former job? Maybe somebody there can help you.


If you run into dead ends, I suggest hiring a private investigator. They have lots of tools at their disposal and they have encountered this situation before. I would also consult an attorney if you haven't done so already.


I hope this helps.

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Social services in your state should have a legal advice hotline who can give you basic information and refer you to attorneys in your area, including ones who will take pro bono cases or work on a sliding scale when finances are an issue. I think it's time to talk to a lawyer, at least for an initial consult, to see what you're going to need and what your ex's obligations to you are since no custody order was filed.


I think you're referring to "child stealing" which is a misdemeanor as opposed to kidnap, a felony, and involves a parent removing a child without the other parent's permission. Since it IS a misdemeanor, it's hard to get the police involved, hence seeking legal counsel is adviseable.

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Once you find out where the kids are at, then you will need to contact an attorney. Start with one in your location. You may have to also contact an attorney in the location your ex husband is at. Then you would file a custody motion. At that time temporary custody will be determined and the non-custodial parent will be granted visitation.


And yes, it is illegal to conceal the children from the non-custodial parent. You cannot deny them visitation. However he hasn't been "concealing" them for long. He can just claim he was busy with the moving and he isn't violating any visitation orders because none exist. Now if this drags on for months, that is a different story. But you have to FIND him first.


Your attorney may be able to help you locate him, but he will charge you for that effort. Private investigators are usually cheaper, especially since most people are fairly easy to find (unless they go to great lengths not to be found). Find him first. Then file the custody motion. If he runs after that - then you can get the authorities to go after him.

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ok- so i called the police in Ill and explain the situation- FINALLY his family tells the police he moved to California. So then I decide to call his old job (its a grocery store and his sister works in a different dept) and ask to speak with him without telling them who I am. The guy there says he doesnt work there. I act surprised and say "really?!?! do you know where he went?" The guy says, "san diego" he then asks if i want to be transferred to his sister. I hung up.


I also decided that I will start with sending certified letters to his old address to him, his sister, and his brother. I will, in a extremely nice way, ask for the address so i can know my kids are safe. That way when i get an attorney, i can at least show i was trying to find out where my boys are and nobody would answer. does that sound like a good idea??? everyone else says i should file in Ill now for custody because he obviously wont travel all the way back for a hearing but the kids are still legal residence of that state.


I am so sad. I have never gone this long without talking to my boys. all i want is to know they are safe and warm.



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Sounds like you are making excellent progress. I don't know whether filing for custody in Illinois will work. He could petition the court to move the hearing to California since neither parent resides in Illinois. But ask your attorney.


And I think sending certified letters is an excellent idea. It shows you are searching and it establishes timelines. I am glad you narrowed it down to the city and state. I'll bet a PI in San Diego could locate them very easily now.


You HANG IN THERE. Ok? You will find them. Keep searching.

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Thank you so much for how kind you have been. I have posted on other sites and for the most part got blasted. I have good moments where I start to get excited because at least they will be only 6 hours from me. But them I have my really bad moments where I realize they probably arent in there own beds and i hate that!!!!! they dont deserve this.........


Again, thank you!!!!!!

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