?If your partner threatens to leave and take the children, let her know that she can go, but the children are staying. She does not have the right to remove the children from the family home.
If she takes the children anyway, you can bring them back. If she leaves and takes the children, you have the right to know where they are. You can ask the court to order her to return the children.
Until and unless a court orders otherwise, you have joint legal and physical custody of your children with your spouse under the common law. Anything less than this takes rights away from you. Many fathers opt for less than joint custody, and in some cases, joint custody may not be in the best interests of the children. But you have the right, if you wish to exercise it, to insist on joint custody from the outset. In cases where the mother is an unfit parent, you can ask the court to award you sole custody.
If the mother denies access to the children, you can ask the court to order it. You are entitled to half of the time with your children if you want it. There is nothing in the law that says you are an incompetent parent because you are a father. There is nothing that says the mother can be a better parent than you.
The court will tend to keep the status quo, or existing situation, by leaving the children where they are. This is to avoid any more disruption in their lives than the divorce of their parents is already causing. That is why it is important that you set the precedent of equal time from the beginning of your case.