How should my sister bring her son home, across state lines, during a messy divorce proceeding?
September 2, 2012 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: How should my sister bring her son home, across state lines, during a messy divorce proceeding?

I am posting for a friend, who, I presume, has a lawyer already:

My sister has been in a very high conflict divorce, jurisdiction is in her state. She has extensive documentation, medical and 3rd party records that counter husband's false allegations.

14 year old Son has been totally alienated from her. A few weeks ago she got a temporary restraining order granting her sole custody and preventing husband from having contact with her and the 2 kids. Day before school started Father puts money on the son's bank card, which lets him buy a plane ticket to the Grandfather's place, a 6 hour drive in another state. Father lives a short drive from Grandfather. After attending school for a few days, Son skips school, flies to grandpa who picks him up at airport.

Police find him 3 days later in the early morning. He claims sister was abusing him, police photograph mild bruises on his back. State laws allow him to be left with Grandfather rather than be turned over to social services.

Sister has to wait a week for the TRO hearing, for which the husband does not show up in court. She is granted full custody, and he is barred from any contact with children except under supervision. That morning a Private Investigator photographs Grandfather and Grandmother packing boxes into cars, and leaving with son. They are not seen for 48 hours. Fortunately they returned and police were able to bring son into social services where he is being held for 72 hours.

Because she is named on the protection order, my sister has to personally go to pick up her son in the next 48 hours.

She has arranged for placement into a hospital for evaluation in her state. How can she physically get him back home?

Driving or flying alone with him is not an option as he would run away and falsely claim abuse. Several professionals involved are worried that he may harm my sister. So far no agency has a way of dealing with a runaway that does not want to go home. Sheriff, PI, hospital, national runaway foundations, all have no answers.

Any specific ideas, names of companies that can handle this? Any laws that can compel the authorities to provide interstate transport?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is not something the internet can help with. She needs to ask her lawyer how to handle this.
posted by arcolz at 8:13 PM on September 2, 2012 [8 favorites]

This is a question for the lawyer, not anonymous internet strangers.
posted by dfriedman at 8:14 PM on September 2, 2012


However, my father was a bodyguard for a similar case. Please do not take this advice without consulting a lawyer first.

The client had to bring his daughter across state lines. To make sure that there were no issues, he hired two professionally licenced body guards from a reputable company to go with him (one being my father). They travelled by plane and bus only (to ensure the maximum amount of witnesses).

The guards were there not only to stop any violence, but to act as witnesses in case anything shady went down. That, combined with the constant use of public transportation, ensured that no one was ever left alone together and that there was always more than one person watching their every move.

Again, my father has no idea what happened to them afterwards, and this may not even be legal in your state. Don't go this route unless your sisters lawyer approves of it.
posted by Shouraku at 8:31 PM on September 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Thank you Shouraku. This is one plan, the problem being finding a company that can do it.
For the others suggesting it's a question for lawyers, she does have a lawyer, AND a guardian ad litem is involved. At this point it's not a legal issue, it's a matter of safe physical transport. We're asking the internet hivemind because this seems to be a rare situation, no one is giving us answers besides "it's her responsibility to go get him" and not giving her help on HOW to safely get him.
posted by anon4now at 8:59 PM on September 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Given your update, I would suggest calling a few private protection firms and explaining your situation. People tend to assume that bodyguards only work for the rich and famous, but truth be told, a large majority of their work can consist of "I have to do X but will need witnesses to make sure that my ex doesn't do anything crazy". Believe me, they will have heard of your sister's type of situation before, and at minimum, should be able to refer you to a company that offeres domestic protection.
posted by Shouraku at 9:46 PM on September 2, 2012

I'm so sorry for your sister's troubles. Mine were different, and included alienation. Reassure your sister that the other parent can't brainwash son forever. Her son will see reality some day, and will appreciate her love and care for him. The less she says about the other parent, the better. My now-25 son has recognized how hard it was for me to be a single Mom and has thanked me. Her son will not stay alienated forever.
posted by theora55 at 12:59 AM on September 3, 2012

I'd actually open the phone book and start calling bounty hunters. Transporting across state lines people likely to bolt and/or become violent is exactly what they do. You can probably get a flat price for door to door service: fly out with the bounty hunter, fly back with son and bounty hunter, drive directly to facility. They are licensed, make good witnesses, and are probably used to dealing with allegations of abuse.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:18 AM on September 3, 2012 [6 favorites]

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