In our increasingly connected and globalized world, exposing our children to international travel, language, and culture is extremely beneficial to their development and teaches them adaptability. Making the decision to go abroad, whether for a short time or for a longer duration, can be an already difficult decision. It can become impossible if you are a divorced parent who shares custody with your ex-spouse and there is little to no trust between you too.
Traveling Abroad: Preliminary Matters to Discuss and Consider
Taking a child abroad (or letting an ex-spouse take a child abroad) can be extremely difficult, especially when the post-divorce relationship between parents is acrimonious. The biggest concern may be present when one of the parents is from another country and would like to bring the child abroad to visit his or her family, but the other spouse is worried that his or her spouse may abduct the child. What can divorced parents in this situation do to assuage each other’s concerns about the motives of the other?
First and foremost, there should be a discussion about the trip abroad—including where they will be going, to whom they will visit, and the length of the trip. It is also important to speak to an attorney about the trip, especially an attorney who understands the ins and outs of international family law that may apply in the case of child abduction.
Will the Trip Infringe on Legal and Physical Custody Decrees?
If the trip will infringe on legal and physical custody decrees, then the court may need to sign off or decide on the change. Legal and physical custody decrees are binding unless the parents agree to make a change to the status or the court steps in to resolve disputes regarding new amendments to the legal and physical custody arrangements.
What is the Status of the Child’s Passport?
When planning to travel abroad, it is important to find out the status of the child’s passport. If the child’s passport was issued during the marriage, it cannot be revoked. As long as the child has a valid passport, he or she may travel, regardless of any other body of law that says otherwise. The custodial parent should keep the passport with him or her or may want the court or attorney to maintain the passport for safe-keeping. It should also be written in the custody agreement the scope of the use of the passport. For example, the agreement should dictate where the passport should be held at all times, who should have access of it, and whether express consent is needed from just the custodial parent or both.
How to Protect Your Child from Abduction
If one parent decides to let his or her ex-spouse take their child abroad, there are certain procedures that can be put into place to protect your child as best as possible. These include the following:
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Lombard
An experienced family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help guide you through an investigation and bring up any misconduct to the attention of the courts. Contact our Lombard family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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