(by Jessica Shockey, San Diego branch)

As the old cliche goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

It is much easier to prevent a child from leaving the country than it is to get the child back. If you suspect your child’s other parent, guardian, or other family member intends to take your child out of the country, you should talk to a lawyer. There are actions that can be taken to prevent or delay the removal of the child across national lines. This blog post details some of them:

The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program

The Office of Children’s Issues, part of the Bureau of Consular Affairs within the US State Department, was created in 1994 to prevent international child abduction and insure the return of children who have been abducted to or wrongfully detained in a country other than their country of habitual residence. A child can be registered with the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program through the Office of Children’s Issues to prevent the other parent from obtaining a passport for the child. Even if the other parent currently has full custody, there may be measures that can be taken.

If a passport has already been issued to the child, the Court can make orders for that passport to be held in trust by an attorney. Orders can also be made restricting travel with the child across county, state, and national lines. The State Department can be notified of these order, and in cases of extreme risk, will monitor airports and border crossings.

A child who has already been abducted can still be retrieved by international action. This is easiest in countries that have signed onto the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. In such cases, it may be best to obtain legal representation both in your home country and in the country where the child has been taken.

If you fear the abduction of your child by the other parent or another family member, or if your child has been abducted, you should contact an attorney with child abduction experience for legal advice.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes and it should not be relied on as legal advice. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading the information on this site and can only be formed by a written agreement that sets forth the scope of the relationship and the fee arrangement.

There is no substitute for expert legal assistance. Whether you’re in San Diego, Imperial or Riverside County, Hemet to El Centro to Vista, you want the most experienced attorney to give you the best representation. Schedule a consultation with the Barefoot team.