If the other parent has taken your child without your consent, you may or may not have available options, depending on the situation. For example, if you are still married to the parent and there is no court order regarding custody, then legally, you cannot claim that you hold physical custody of your child. This means the other parent has the legal right to take your child, even if you are currently estranged or separated. However, in the event of an emergency, such as your child has a medical condition and the parent did not take the necessary medical prescriptions or equipment, then you would probably be able to get your child back into your care.
To win temporary custody after your spouse has taken your child, you must file a complaint for separate support in probate and family court, as well as an ex parte emergency motion for temporary custody. This allows you to go before the judge and testify without waiting to have the other parent served and scheduling a hearing that both of you can attend. If you get a temporary custody order from the judge, your spouse will be served by the police and you will get your child back.
According to Masslegalhelp.org, if you have a court order granting you physical custody, the other parent cannot take your child without your consent. If this is your situation, you can file criminal charges as well as a complaint for contempt with the family law court. Your local law enforcement agency can then initiate an investigation to find your child and enforce your current court order. Additionally, the court may also take steps against the other parent which may include supervised visitation or even deny the parent visitation with your child.
Regardless of the custody arrangement, if you file a complaint with the court, the other parent will have to appear to explain the behavior at a custody hearing. The judge will consider this information when determining what is in the best interests of the child before ordering the custody arrangement. This information is not intended to be taken as legal advice, and is for educational purposes only.