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How to Prevent Your Spouse from Taking Your Child Out of the Country
There are many reason why a parent may need to be concerned about their child being taken out of the country.
Perhaps you are married to another country’s citizen? Or maybe you have simply gone through a divorce and you are worried whether or not your ex-spouse could take your child out of the country. These fears are valid and completely natural, but perhaps not completely warranted.
First and foremost, as with all legal matters, the absolute best thing you can do is hire an attorney that is experienced in this exact matter. A family law attorney with experience in international matters is your absolute best bet if you want to know everything there is to know about a situation like this one.
That said, there are still ways you can prevent such an issue on your own. One such method, so long as you are divorcing your spouse, is the ability to add travel restrictions to the custody order or court orders. However, while this may work in some situations, it may not be a viable approach if your child has a passport. If your child does have a passport you may not be able to impose travel restrictions, but many parents that have faced this particular situation have instead found ways to have their child’s passport surrendered to the court.
Should the passport be surrendered to the court, a parent that wished to travel out of the country with their child would have to have the passport returned by the court first, which would require a court hearing. While having the passport surrendered is a viable option as well, both parents must agree to it. If the other parent does not agree to surrender their passport, you must provide compelling evidence to the court other parent is planning to take your child out of the country.
On the other hand, if your child does not already have a passport, there are ways you can prevent them from getting one against your will. Under normal circumstances, both parents must agree on it in order for a child to be issued a passport. However, this is not always true. If sole custody lies with one parent, the other parent cannot be located, one parent has court orders stating that the other parent’s parental rights were terminated, or the parent has been allowed to travel with their child by the court, that parent is eligible to obtain a passport without the other parent’s consent. It would do well to remember these stipulations if you wish to keep your child from attaining a passport in the first place.
In the end, there are ways for a parent to both leave the country with their child and prevent their child from leaving the country. It’s a lot of back and forth, but the best way to make the entire situation more manageable is to have a family attorney on hand.