- 5 years ago
So, I’m going to try to be as vague and specific as possible without giving any identifying details away. All names have been changed.
I have a friend named Heather who I met in college, and she has a very young son named Caleb (Under 11). Heather has never really had much of a strong relationship with her son’s father, Alex, but is currently living with him. Their household is: Heather, Caleb, Alex, Alex’s Girlfriend, Alex’s Girlfriend’s Mother, and Heather’s new boyfriend, Jack. Heather claims that Alex brings friends over often.
Heather, Alex, Caleb, Jack (and I assume Alex’s Girlfriend) are all on Welfare. This is pertinant because they do not work, none have any form of a job or volunteer work. I assume the home they are living in is Alex’s Girlfriend’s Mother’s property, but I cannot be 100%.
Heather, Caleb and I were supposed to attend an event together soon, and she wrote me a facebook e-mail telling me she’d have to cancel because she is taking Caleb on a trip. And not bringing him back. She wants to get out of the house they are currently in and has been issued HUD housing, but claims that she needs to do this without Alex’s knowledge. I do not know why.
Caleb is not physically abused. Alex is not a bad man, nor is he a good man. He is a deadbeat dad, he is lazy, he’s a slob, but he isn’t a liar, a cheater or a theif. He is simply not a good father. All of Caleb’s life, Alex has not been an active participant because he has either been too broke to help, or just didn’t care to because Heather was taking care of it all.
Caleb has been moved from home, to home, to home. Heather and Caleb moved a lot, and Caleb once upon a time lived with Alex and there was a battle over that. Heather claimed Caleb was abused, but never persued it medically or legally.
AS FAR AS I KNOW there is no custody/visitation paperwork officially filed via the court. I could be wrong, but I do not think there was anything “put in stone” for Caleb and visitation between his mother and father. Alex and Heather were never married.
Truthfully, this is as “stable” as caleb has been in his entire, short life. That’s depressing to say, but it’s true. He is in school, he is doing well, he has friends, and he has a home.
While I agree this living situation is toxic and something needs to be done about it, my issue lies within Heather taking Caleb and A: Not telling Alex, and B: Not bringing him back.
I don’t like Alex. Not even a little. I think he is a waste of carbon and air, but he is Caleb’s father.
I am not expecting legal advice, I just want advice in general. What do I do? I have googled abduction laws for the state and they are grey at best. Caleb cannot consent to being traveled a considerable distance. I do not know what, legally, a “substancial distance” is in the eyes of the law. Heather will be moving Caleb approximately an hour and a half West of where they are living now.
Could what Heather is doing be classified as kidnapping? Googling abduction, it doesn’t seem she is abducting him since it needs to be via force or fear and I’m pretty sure Caleb will happily go willingly with her, but I think it falls more under kidnapping.
There is no way for me to give Heather or Caleb any sort of financial or physical support. I do not live close by anymore, and Heather’s family has moved far away in recent years. She does have a large wealth of friends locally, however.
I have not responded to the e-mail, but I want to state that I value the mental and physical health and wellbeing of Caleb more than I do my friendship with Heather. This boy does not deserve the hand he has been dealt and his mother, while a good woman, is not a smart woman and she is not doing things proper.
Do I tell someone? Who do I tell? What do I say?
ETA: I do not think there is any legal paperwork on the books. I do not think that the court has ever said, “Heather has primary custody of caleb”, just to clarify.