If you are a Florida resident, you have a child with someone who comes from another country and the relationship between you two has soured, you may have valid concerns about co-parenting. More specifically, you may have serious fears that your child’s other parent may attempt to take your child back to his or her home country. While it is unlikely that you will be able to keep an eye on your child every second of every day, there are certain steps you can take to reduce the chances of an international child abduction occurring.

If you are fearful that your former partner may attempt to abduct your child, consider the following:

Securing a court order or custody decree

Arguably the most effective step you can take to minimize the chance of your ex trying to take your child back to his or her country of origin involves securing a court order or custody decree. While different types can accomplish different tasks, you may, for example, be able to get one that bans your child from getting a passport or leaving a particular geographic area. You may also be able to get one that sets clear boundaries as far as custody.

Contacting foreign embassies

If you fear your child’s other parent will try to relocate him or her to another specific country, you may want to take an additional step after trying to obtain passport restrictions. In some cases when one parent hails from another country, your child may be able to obtain a passport from that nation, even if the United States will not grant one, so contact that country’s embassy and explain your situation.

Covering your bases

Since you cannot watch your child every second, make sure anyone else who provides care is aware of your concerns. For example, make a point to notify day care providers, school contacts and local law enforcement officials about your situation.

If you have concerns about international child abduction, act promptly. It is often easier to prevent an abduction from occurring than it is to deal with its aftermath.