A common scenario in international child abduction cases is for
one parent to take a "vacation" with the children and
then never return. With spring break and summer break looming,
parents need to be extremely wary of the other parent's planned
travel with the children if there is any reason to suspect that the
other parent might not return with the child.
Overt, immediate threats to relocate with children are of course
cause for concern, but parents should also be on the lookout for
less obvious warning signs. For example, quitting a job or selling
major assets in the United States should trigger concerns about
potential child abduction to another country. A parent who has
concerns about the other parent abducting their children to another
country should immediately seek advice from an attorney who is
knowledgeable about the Convention on the Civil Aspects of
International Child Abduction, done at the Hague on October 25,
1980 ("Hague Convention"). Among other things, parents
should consider pursuing the following measures:
Requesting that a court issue an order prohibiting the children
from traveling out of the United States and safeguarding the
Petitioning a court to restrict the other parent to supervised
visitation if there are legitimate concerns about possible child
Obtaining a detailed custody order providing specifics about
the duration of the planned travel and setting limitations on
Enrolling the children in the Children's Passport Issuance
Contacting law enforcement, including authorities at airports,
if the abduction is imminent.
According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 600
children were abducted from the United States to another country in
2015. The State Department has not yet released its report on
international parental child abductions in 2016, but the numbers
are bound to be as high or higher than they were in 2015.
Parents must therefore be proactive about preventing their children
from being abducted by the other parent and should not wait until
it is too late.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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