Foreign Travel with Kids After Divorce: What Protections Does Each Parent Have?
If you have a child custody order in place or are thinking of getting one, you may be worried about the other parent traveling internationally with your child(ren). Unfortunately, once the child leaves the United States, the court you have an order from no longer has jurisdiction. So how can you ensure that your child will return safely to U.S. soil?
Thankfully, several countries, including the United States, have agreed to prevent international child abduction. The Hague Convention (or “the convention” as it is called) is the main international treaty that covers international parental child abduction. It provides a process through which a parent can seek to have their child returned to their home country. The idea surrounding the convention is to create a secure and organized manner in which a child can be returned to their primary residence and to uphold the orders which were put in place by the proper court.
Can’t I Just Enforce My Custody Order in Court?
Unfortunately, U.S. court orders may not be recognized in other countries because each country is a sovereign nation. One sovereign nation cannot interfere with another’s legal systems, judiciaries, or law enforcement. The convention provides a framework for agreeing countries to resolve international abduction.
The Hague Conference currently has 83 Members: 82 States and 1 Regional Economic Integration Organization. The current list is as follows:
· Bosnia and Herzegovina
· Burkina Faso
· China, People’s Republic of
· Costa Rica
· Czech Republic
· European Union
· Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
· Korea, Republic of
· New Zealand
· Republic of Moldova
· Russian Federation
· Saudi Arabia
· South Africa
· Sri Lanka
· United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
· United States of America
Please keep in mind that filing a case under the convention does not guarantee that your child will be returned. There are certain facts that must be established such as the child’s habitual residence and wrongful removal of the child.
What If I Want To Travel Internationally with My Child?
It is best to have an attorney review your order if you’re unsure of your rights
· Make sure your child has a valid passport.
· Have written authorization from the other parent authorizing you to take the child out of the country.
· Make sure to communicate with the other parent about where you’re going, staying, and for how long.
· If traveling on a visa, do not stay longer than originally stated.
· If your custody order or parenting plan includes travel specifications, make sure to abide by the established guidelines.
Failure to follow these steps could result in prohibited travel or a child abduction allegation.
Here at Mian & Masoom, we have handled international abduction cases and have made sure children were returned safe and sound to their parents. Please feel free to contact our office to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
This article was prepared for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.