You know your co-parent would never harm your child. Unfortunately, you’re not certain they wouldn’t take them without your knowledge or permission. That can and does happen amid high-conflict divorces.
Sometimes, parents think they’re righting the wrong of an unfair custody agreement. In some cases, a parent believes they can better care for their child than their ex. Some parents use their children to get back at their ex for some real or perceived wrong.
The law is on your side no matter where in the U.S. your co-parent takes your child
Parental abduction (assuming it’s not done to save a child from a threat to their safety) is illegal. Even if a parent takes a child to another state, law enforcement agencies are required to cooperate with their counterparts across the country under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.
Can you prevent your child from being taken outside the U.S.?
As we discussed in a previous post, it’s wise to address traveling abroad with your child in your custody agreement if that’s something one or both of you plan to do or even if it could be a possibility. If your child already has a valid passport, it’s difficult to prevent your co-parent from taking them outside the country without your permission if they’re determined to do so.
If a child has been abducted by a parent and taken out of the country, the Hague Abduction Convention, which is a treaty that the U.S. and many countries abide by, can help the other parent get their child back.
Of course, the best thing you can do for your child is to minimize the chances that your co-parent will even consider abducting your child. Assuming here that your ex has some parenting rights, whether it’s visitation or 50-50 custody, it’s best if you can work to communicate with them as amicably as possible. It’s also important to be vigilant about following your end of the custody and visitation agreement.
Wherever you are in the divorce and custody order process, having experienced legal guidance can help you protect your child and your rights as a parent.