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Tips for divorced parents when exes take kids out of the country

For Texas couples who have gone through an amicable divorce and have agreed upon divorce settlements that both sides are happy with, the thought of one spouse taking the children out of the country might not be anxiety-producing. However, for divorced parents who fought hard for child custody and are concerned that their ex-husbands or ex-wives aren't going to follow the terms of their divorce agreements, an international trip could raise legitimate concerns. However, there are precautions people can take to protect their children and reduce stress.

Divorced individuals who have reason to fear that their ex might kidnap their children can contact the State Department. The Department's Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program creates an alert when someone applies for a passport for any child registered. Custodial parents can be notified if their ex submits a passport application for their kid.

Parents could also get a surety bond called a Ne Exeat. These bonds attempt to ensure that parents stick to terms of custody agreements and divorce settlements. The parent removing a child form the country must get the bond and post it with a court, which includes disclosing details of his or her travel plans. Bonds are priced based on estimates of what the other parent will pay in legal fees if their ex violates the agreement. It can also relieve anxiety if parents discuss ways to keep in touch with their kids while they're away, such as by using cellphones or Skype to video chat.

Although many of these options could help mothers and fathers worried about child abduction, an attorney might be needed to guide parents through the process of enrolling children in the CPIAP or talking to the State Department. An attorney could also shed light on any applicable laws in the countries to which the children are going.

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

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Bruce Turner

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