Parental kidnapping is the most prevalent form of child abduction in the United States. Although many children are taken to another state, when a child is taken out of the country, the situation becomes more difficult because of jurisdictional, legal and linguistic complications.
There are several things a parent can do to reduce the likelihood of a parental abduction. The U.S. Department of State has a wealth of information regarding international child abductions. As part of a divorce, a custody order or decree is entered. Here are some important things to remember about this custody order:
- Make sure you obtain several certified copies of the order from the court.
- The order can include a statement prohibiting the child from traveling abroad without your permission or the permission of the court.
- Terms of the Hague Abduction Convention can be included, which apply if a child is taken to a country that partners with the U.S. under the Convention. In response to parental kidnappings, countries have increasingly partnered together under the Hague Treaty on Child Abduction.
- If the other parent has significant ties to a foreign country, you can request that the court require the parent to post a bond as a deterrent.
Under most circumstances, both parents’ signatures are required for passports to be issued to children under 16. However, a parent can also ask to be included in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, which enables the State Department to notify you or your attorney if a passport application for the child is received.
If you are facing custody issues, or if the above provisions were not included in a prior custody order, consult a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney to learn about your legal options.
Jacqueline Newman joined Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP in 1998 and is now the managing partner of the firm. Ms. Newman’s practice consists of litigation, collaborative law and mediation. She specializes in complex high net worth matrimonial cases and also in negotiating prenuptial agreements. Read more about Jacqueline Newman.