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Tips for preventing international child abduction

If you share a child with someone who hails from another country and the relationship between the two of you has become acrimonious, you may have justifiable concerns about your child’s other parent. More specifically, you may have fears about your ex attempting to abduct your son or daughter and return to his or her country of origin, which can raise a wealth of problems.

International child abductions can prove highly complicated, and associated problems can include everything from not being able to find your child to not knowing how to navigate international court systems while you pursue his or her safe return. There are, however, some steps you can take prematurely if you suspect that your child’s other parent may wish to relocate the child to another nation. These steps include:

Securing a court order or custody decree

If you have valid concerns about international abduction, securing a court order may help put your mind at ease. You may be able to obtain a court order that, for example, limits your child’s ability to travel or get a passport, preventing the abduction before it can happen.

Trusting your instincts

If you have noticed or heard that your child’s other parent is unloading assets, quitting his or her job or otherwise making moves that suggest a potential relocation, trust your gut. This may be a good time to secure a court order.

Contacting schools and law enforcement

If you obtain court orders that prevent your child’s other parent from making certain moves, make sure that local law enforcement officials have copies of the order. Furthermore, make sure your child’s school or daycare is aware of the potential danger, and provide very clear directions about who does – and who does not – have the authority to pick up your child.

While taking these steps may make it harder for your child’s other parent to abduct him or her, the most important thing you can do as a concerned parent is act. If you have fears, speak up and take necessary steps to prevent international child abduction before it occurs.

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