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What steps can you take to prevent international child abduction?

When you live in California and have a child with someone from another nation, you may face unique challenges if the relationship between you and your one-time partner turns particularly sour or acrimonious. More specifically, you may have justifiable concerns about your former partner attempting to abduct your child and take him or her to the other parent’s country of origin, at which point getting your child back can prove especially difficult.

There are, however, per the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, some preemptive steps you can take to help prevent your child’s other parent from taking him or her overseas without your permission. Arguably one of the most effective and important things you should do if you are facing such a scenario is attempt to secure either a custody decree or a court order that will help keep your child on U.S. soil.

You may, for example, be able to get a court order that prevents your child from securing a passport or traveling overseas. Even if you are successful in doing so, however, you should still take additional precautions to cover your bases. You may, for example, want to call local law enforcement officials and make them aware of your concerns and situation. You may, too, want to notify the foreign consulate or embassy in your former partner’s country of origin, because in some cases, these agencies may also be able to issue your child a passport.

Finally, trust your gut. If you see red flags that indicate your former partner’s possible plans to relocate with your child, take immediate action. This might include, among other examples, your former partner leaving his or her job, selling a home or what have you in preparation to move.

This information about preventing international child abduction is meant for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice.