Can a single mother take her child away from the father and move out-of-state?
I am a single mother and my residence is OH. I moved to KY into the baby's father's parent's house for a short while without filing residency and had my baby there. The baby's father signed the birth certificate but we are no longer together and I don't see him as a fit father (drugs and alcohol), so I want to move back home to OH. Do I need his consent to move back? Do we have to go to court to have a custody hearing? We were never married so I don't know what rights he has to our child.
First of all, whether or not you are married to the father, he is still the father and as such has legal rights. However, if there is no court order in effect, then you can take your child out-of-state. But he can go to court in KY and obtain an order which will require you to return to the state. If at that point you don't return or return but again leave with the children, you can be charged with parental kidnapping.
The safest way for you to obtain legal custody of the child is for you to go to court first. Based on the limited facts given, you may or may not be considered to be a KY resident. If not, you can go back to OH and file for custody there. If, however, you are deemed to be a resident of KY, then taking a child from their home to live in another state without a court order permitting this is not a good idea, either now or in the long run insofar as a custody battle is concerned. What you want to do is get an order from the court in KY on custody and visitation; obviously, you will want to try and get one that will allow an out-of-state move. In making its determiation, the court will consider the bests interests of the child; it will look at the age of your child, the relationship of the parents and the child, the present living situation of the child, etc.
At this point, you need to consult with an attorney in KY and find out just what your legal residence is considered to be. They can additionally advise you on how best to proceed with all of this.
Best of luck.