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Tennessee/Pennsylvania Need help for my sister

Started by auntkelly2011, Sep 05, 2013, 06:28:02 PM

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Im new here, my husband has been a past member when we had our hiccup and split. Back together and all is good, but not so much for my younger sister. Shes 21 and moved to Tennessee to be with father of their child. All was well and good for the first two years but recently has changed. She wants to take their daughter and move back here to PA with our family, but hes threatening to have her charged with kindapping and telling her that because their daughter was born in Tennessee its against the law for her to leave. Can anyone tell me if theres an inking of truth to his threats or should she do what i said and pack her car her child and leave him a note saying where she went and how to contact domestic relations here and then drive here. Plan for a weekday arrival so that when she arrives we go directly to domestic relations and file for custody.....or should she leave NO note and just take the minimum so that he cannot contact domestic relations first? We encouraged her to join here, but theres a lot of risk of him seeing her online activity so im asking the questions for now.
Auntie Kel >:(


Sent you a private message, check inbox on this site.


Please check out the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).  The foundation act (UCCJA) is and was part of national standards civil laws and was enacted in all states (1968).  These national standards are complimented at the Federal level by the  Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA, 1981).  In addition, you should discover that all states have enacted CRIMINAL Interference with a Child statues and probably involve incarceration. 

All these statues are designed to PROTECT the CHILD(REN) and the left-behind parent. 

Your sister is free to leave anytime her little ole pea-picking heart desires while all the statues are designed to protect the child and the left-behind parent.  Moreover, the statues are black and white that leaves little if any discretion to the bias and prejudices of a court.


Davy- They are not in court and nothing has been filed. Until something is filed by either of them, they are free to go wherever they want.

Sorry Davy, the system is broke beyond repair. It looks great on paper but after 10 years in court with custodial interference, you have to get a good judge on a good day to make a good ruling and that still does not make the custodial parent have child ready for visitation. Just goes in circles ...especially when judges retire, change placement, you start all over with different judge.


This post concerned itself with a family member advising her sister to abscound with a child across state lines then file for custody in the foreign state.  The family member asked, in general terms, if there was any validity to the "threats" of the left behind parent to pursue kidnapping charges against the kidnapping/abscounding parent.

I simply pointed out the legal statues governing these matters so that one could reach a conclusion that there were no threats just the civil and criminal laws available to protect children.

One would think you could have advised on this matter instead of taking your response underground.  I really hope you are not suggesting that a child is not kidnapped unless someone files in the broken court system.


 :-\ Ok so maybe i should be more specific. No, they are not married, and only live together. He brings home the pay, she takes care of the child. he THREATENS to have her charged with kidnapping if she leaves and comes back to PA. Staying in TN is not safe, as he abuses alchol and drugs frequently and has at times stated its HIS paycheck and hes going to buy a bag of dope, the three diapers they had left that night would be enough til SHE goes to HIS mother to borrow money.....and she was told to lie about bills to get the money....needless to say my sister got a paypal payment from me to pay for that pack of diapers.....they live nearly 20 hours from me, and she has NO help there (the mother in law and her new man are smoking crack now too, great folks huh?) so basicly what i wanted to know is the legalities of her leaving. the plan is for her to pack up what she needs for her and baby and take off. Shes contemplating a note that says "Im leaving, and will be going back to my family. Domestic Relations in Indiana PA will contact you soon to arrange custody and visitation and child support." the drive here will take 9 hours on a good day. but will likely be near 10 hours if theres traffic. so, we would not be able to go file for emergency temporary custody until the next morning as thell be closed when she arrives. Is there any law that says that is parental kidnapping in Tennessee? If so, what is the process......does it have to go to the judge to determine custody frist? Some have said its not parental kidnapping if custody hasnt been established. another issue is that hes told her that because their daughter was born there shes not allowed to leave TN because their child was born there........and that she MUST file there and stay there until the court stuff is taken care of. She merely lives with him and has lived with him about 3 years
Thanks All


Based on the what has been posted ...  Tennessee and Only Tennessee can LEGALLY make any determinations regarding this child and Tennessee has jurisdiction over ALL parties in the suit.  Moreover, the left-behind "Tn" parent can ligitimately file Ex-parte (without notice) to GAIN Emergency Temporary custody of the child and there is no one present to contest custody.  The "emergency" is due to the now at-risk child has been taken across the state lines in an attempt to gain an uncontested favorable custody ruling.   

At the same time, the "Pa" court is likely to recognize "Pa" has no jurisdiction concerning a "Tn" child and deny any petitions.  If not an attorney can file and receive a "special appearance"  preventing any dicsussion of custody matters.  Only jurisdiction issue.  Also be aware that any "emergency" in "Tn" has been eliminated since the child is now illegally located in "Pa".

Your best effort would be to protect the child via the  "Tn" courts where all evidence is readily available and BOTH parents can access their child.
Use caution not to be accused/charged with criminal interference of a child ((documented (by state) on this site)) along with PKPA and UCCJA or UCCJEA.


I agree with Davy....

Married or not, since the father is still in TN, jurisdiction would stay there and does NOT follow the child until the father moves.
I personally believe that custodial interference laws will not apply since this is the mother and father of the child -- and those laws are really meant for outside folks who take the child. 
The child "is allowed" to leave, but not move....there's a difference.
So....hate to say it, but the mother needs to establish herself and establish independence and build a support system there.  She might want to check out Domestic Violence Shelters and such, or see if a local church can help with that part.


Let me add something...

TN has jurisdiction....no doubt in my mind about that.

Mom needs to ask file in the court and ask for primary custody of the child.   

At the same time -- if she really wants to move, ask the court for permission to move based on the fact that her support system is in PA AND the drug/alcohol use.

That being said -- she has to prove that he's on drugs and that the use of alcohol affects the child in a negative way.  It may be obvious to us but not to the judge.

In the mean time, she has to establish herself independent from Dad....

Neither parent has more rights right now than the other parent, however, DAD has the upper hand in that he is providing everything right now for the child -- since the mother provides no income and no roof.  In many senses, babysitting or caring for your own child under his roof doesn't count (IMHO)....


MB and Davy are right!  I had this happen to me.  My X (not married) took off with our 10 month old son (now 16), back to MI.  I was able to file an Ex Parte and order him to bring our son back to MD.  He didn't do that so I then was able to get a warrent for his arrest due to parental kidnapping.  I had my son back in a week.  We then went to court for custody and the Judge read him the riot act!

Do NOT just take off!  It may not go very well and she could lose the baby to the father.

Thankfully in my case everything worked out.  My Son's father finally pulled his head out of his butt and we've had a working relationship ever since.  Son goes to visit his Dad every summer and christmas break. 
Now I'm living....Just another day in Paradise!!