Women who take their children and flee domestic abuse in another jurisdiction to return to Minnesota may face another set of (legal) problems once they arrive. Here’s how to best navigate them.
October 2019 is the 30th annual National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In recognizing the occasion, I am grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience regarding the intersection of domestic violence and interstate and international family law jurisdiction to promote awareness of this complicated area of the law.
Ending an abusive relationship is difficult at best and downright dangerous at worst. As a divorce and family law attorney, I have counseled numerous clients in the midst of ending an abusive relationship—from advising them on the steps they should take to keep themselves safe when their partner is served with a petition for dissolution to counseling them on the risks and benefits of entering into an agreement with their abusive partner in concomitant order for protection and family court proceedings. But there is no situation more complex and fraught with potential detrimental legal consequences than when a woman living in another state or country leaves an abusive relationship to return with her children to the state they call home. This article focuses on the civil laws that affect women fleeing an abusive partner to “come home” to Minnesota with their children, and the potential legal consequences of taking such action.