There is a lot of advice out there about what to do and not do during a custody battle. Please believe us when we say that very high on the list of things not to do is "State Skipping With Your Child" while the custody battle is waging on.

Not only will that likely cost you the custody that you so desperately want, but it could land you in jail and make you a convicted felon. Of course, this won't help you win any custody battles later, either.

A Pennsylvania woman recently relocated to Tennessee, her 6-year-old child in tow, without telling the child's father where they were going. The father made the discovery upon going to the mother’s former home to pick the child up for his scheduled visitation. The mother failed to make the proper notification to the father of the intended move, and a warrant was issued for her arrest. When she returned to Pennsylvania for a custody hearing, she was taken into custody by police.

Perhaps a few decades ago that would have worked, and the father wouldn't have been able to find them without a lengthy and expensive search. In the current digital age, however, it's a lot harder to just skip states and start over without leaving a trace. Most parents lack the financial means and know-how to acquire a new identity or live entirely off-the-grid with their children. Not to mention that this is rarely, if ever, in the best interest of your children.

The reality is that many parents don't realize that they're doing anything wrong. In their minds, they are not kidnapping. They think that it's impossible to kidnap their own child. They feel entitled to make unilateral decisions about where the child should live, regardless of what the other parent may think or feel. They don't even bother to hide because they believe their actions are legal.

That's why it's incredibly important to discuss limitations and ground rules with your attorney during any custody battle or dispute. Your attorney may not realize that you don't understand something is illegal or at harmful to your case. It's better to ask if something you are thinking about doing is okay.

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