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How can you protect your child when your co-parent takes them out of the country?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Blog, Family Law |

Following a divorce, you and your former spouse have to live by court order for your children. The order spells out how much support each of you pays when visitation with your kid and other essential elements. If you have shared custody of your child, your ex cannot remove your child from the country without your permission.

When a parent removes his or her child from the country, it may fall under international parental kidnapping, explains the United States Department of Justice.

Bringing your child home

The federal law allows prosecutors to investigate and prosecute the parent who took your child. Unfortunately, prosecutors cannot demand other countries to return the child. While your ex may face U.S. charges for kidnapping, the foreign country makes the final decision.

You may be able to pursue negotiation through the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention facilitates the return of abducted children. However, it applies only to those countries that signed the convention. The U.S. Department of State handles return efforts.

You may feel tempted to personally travel to a foreign country to retrieve your child. Unfortunately, due to federal laws and other countries’ laws, you may worsen the situation. For example, if your ex received a foreign custody order, arriving to remove the child may result in your arrest.

Preparing for your child

Children who undergo parental kidnapping may feel isolated, afraid and experience various psychological problems. Understanding the trauma your child underwent during the abduction may help you prepare for his or her return. Your child may suffer from sleep disturbances, mood swings and anxiety.

Most child custody and visitation matters happen at the state level, except for international parental kidnapping.