Vacation or Abduction? When an Ex Wants to Take Your Child Abroad - DuPage County Divorce Attorney | Bloomingdale Family Law Lawyers
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Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices
DuPage County Attorneys


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Vacation or Abduction? When an Ex Wants to Take Your Child Abroad

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vacation or abduction, Lombard family law attorneysIn 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:

  1. “Ne Exeat” Bond: An Abduction Guarantee: Get or require a “Ne Exeat” bond. The “Ne Exeat” bond is a form of insurance where the bond uses collateral or works to guarantee that the parent who would like to the take the child out of the country cannot abduct the child. The “Ne Exeat” bond, which means “he shall not depart,” requires the traveling parent to post up a certain amount of money or collateral with the court that will provide financing to the non-traveling parent to pursue an international custody claim/legal action in the case that the traveling parent violates the custody agreement. The traveling parent is required to notify the court of the details of the itinerary.
  2. Notify the U.S. State DepartmentAlert the U.S. State Department and enroll your child in the U.S. State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert. The CPIAP is a program by which the State Department will contact all parents of the child if an application for a passport has been submitted. This will ensure that all express consents from all parties are genuine and the child is in fact permitted to travel.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Lombard

An experienced family law attorney at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices 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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