Sunday, November 29, 2009

International Parental Abduction

I get a bit more worried about parents removing a child out of Indiana, so I find the idea of a parent leaving the country with a child exotic.  Which might explain why I find Ohio Family Law Blog's Parental Abduction: Prevention and Remedies so interesting.  Better to be prepared for the day with this kind of advice:

During custody litigation where one parent is a foreign national, even if a U.S. passport has not been issued for the child, the U.S. parent’s attorney should ask that the other parent turn over ALL passports, including any obtained by the foreign parent from his/her country of origin.  In a recent case in California, the mother actually had six passports for the child: One current and two expired U.S. passports plus a “pair and a spare” from her country.  Considering the risk in all of the scenarios involving a U.S./foreign national custody issue, the next step is to request a bond be ordered by the court, revocable even if the parent crosses a state line without permission of the court.  The attorney must be well prepared for arguing this issue since many judges will simply call it “anticipation of a crime” and act accordingly, thus essentially aiding the foreign parent’s plan.
The custody order itself must not provide for shared parenting, but rather sole legal custody to the U.S. parent.  “Shared or Joint” can be loosely interpreted and many foreign consulates consider it to mean that their own citizen has an equal right to remove the child.  This does not interfere with any particular parenting time plan, just firmly vests the legal status in the U.S. parent.  If the foreign national parent chooses to move to another jurisdiction, then all parenting time with that parent should be required to occur in the home jurisdiction.  While many may consider this harsh, it is far less harsh than losing a child to a foreign country, with no hope or at least very little hope of recovery.
For those with an interest in international law, I strongly suggest reading The International Family Law blog.


Anonymous said...

I have been working on a project about divorced parents taking kids out of the country to their native country because of the Chris Savoie case. Because of some pending litigation I can't discuss the project in detail but as soon as it is done, I will send it to you.

Sam Hasler said...

Would there be any reason not to publish this online?