Child abduction is your worst nightmare as a parent. If you and your international spouse are going through marital troubles or a custody dispute, you should be on the lookout for red flags. While you may want to assume the other parent has the best intentions, you never know what people may do when they are desperate and angry.
If you fear your spouse may kidnap your child, you need to be ready. Preparing for the worst can help you react to the situation with legal action if your worst nightmare comes true. Here is how you can try to prevent child abduction from taking place.
1. Get a clear custody decree
When you are going through a divorce and working out custody issues, it is important to include specific provisions about visitation and travel. The U.S. Department of State says that a court order is a crucial method for stopping international child abduction. Your custody arrangement may include specific language regarding travel restrictions, passports and visitation supervision.
2. Keep up-to-date information about your child
If you suspect there is a risk that your spouse will steal your child and go abroad, keep a written description of your child, including eye and hair color, weight, height, fingerprints and any unique characteristics. You should also have recent pictures or videos of him or her. If necessary, take new photos or videos every six months. These details can be helpful for law enforcement and your attorney.
3. Get legal counsel
International child abduction is a complex and stressful situation. Due to the complications of varying international laws, locating your child and securing jurisdiction, it is crucial to get help from a lawyer. An attorney can help in efforts to make sure your child has a safe return to the United States. If you fear abduction is possible, talk to a lawyer before it happens.
Nobody wants to think about their child being taken to another country, but it may happen. Taking preventative measures could help you be ready if the worst case scenario ever happens.