Safety strategies for children traveling abroad with exes

Florida parents who are divorced from a spouse with international ties may feel anxious about allowing their children to travel out of the country. Due to the expense and difficulty of other countries enforcing court orders from the United States, if the ex-spouse decides to remain in another country with the children, parents can sometimes spend years trying to reunite with them.

However, there are precautions parents can take. An attorney may be able to aid in writing detailed provisions for international travel into the agreements between parents. This can include information about international communication, such as how often and in what way that communication will happen.

Parents can also require their spouses to post a bond before taking the children abroad. The bond is generally in the amount it would cost to use legal means to recover the children across international borders. The traveling parent would also be required to provide information about when the children will be out of the country and where they will be.

Generally, both parents must approve a passport request for a minor, but there are sometimes exceptions for divorced parents. Parents who are concerned about ex-spouses obtaining passports for their children without their knowledge or permission can enroll in the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program. This ensures that the U.S. Department of State will notify parents about any passport applications for their children.

Parents might worry about international abduction because, once children are beyond the jurisdiction of national courts, it may seem impossible to compel ex-spouses to comply with child custody arrangements. However, preparing for the worst-case scenario may give parents the tools they need to prevent such an occurrence.

Source: Forbes, "Take Precautions Before Your Children Travel Internationally With Your Ex-Husband", Jeff Landers, May 06, 2014

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