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What do I do if my ex threatens to take our child out of the country?

If a parent wants to move a child's residence out of the country, then the same laws apply as when the parent wants to move to another state, though the evaluation by the Court may be slightly different. The removal statute is discussed at length in our previous blog: What do I do if my ex wants to move out of state with our child?.

If you are afraid that the other parent may remove the child illegally and once the child is out of the country it may be difficult to get them back, then there is still something you can do. The U.S. Department of State has a website entitled Child Abduction Prevention with many useful tips including:

1. Be aware of your state's laws relating to removing the child from your state against the other parent's wishes. This is a crime in most states and may also be a federal crime.

2. Obtain a custody order that clearly defines both your and the other parent's rights relating to the child and any limitations on those rights.

3. Be aware of U.S. Passport law, which requires the signature of both parents to obtain a passport for a child. If you are concerned that your ex might try to obtain a passport without your signature or with a forged signature, then you should apply to The Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program. You can obtain the entry form by clicking here.

4. If your child already has a passport you can ask the Court to require its surrender.


Thank you to Robert P. Schneiders, Esq. of Canton, MA for forwarding us this information on The Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program.

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