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Child custody: Crossing borders with children

Typically, parents will do almost anything to protect their children. This is most probably why reaching agreements on child custody may be one of the more difficult aspects of divorce proceedings. When one of the parties plans to move to another state, or perhaps another country, fear of losing one's children may arise.

Minnesota parents may benefit from knowledge regarding safeguards that can be put in place so that the children are not taken out of the country without their consent. Both custodial and non-custodial parents have certain rights pertaining to visits over country borders, as well as one parent moving to another country. Depending on the seriousness of the threat, there are a number of different avenues to pursue in order to ensure children are not taken across international borders without the consent of the other parent.

Should the divorce not have been finalized and the possibility exists that a parent may attempt to take the children out of the country without consent of the other parent applying for custody, it may be beneficial to consider the possibility of requesting an emergency custody order. It can be clearly stipulated in such an order that the children may not be taken out of the state or country without the consent of one or both parents. Should one manage to convince a judge that his or her fears are real, reasonable and based on facts, the court may be convinced to intervene and include provisions about travel in the custody order.

In cases where the custody order is already in place, one can ask for a modification. Courts can also be requested to hold a child's passport to prevent international travel. When children are still under 18 and do not yet have a passport, one has the option to register the child on the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program in order to be alerted if an application for a passport for the child is submitted.

No matter which of the above-mentioned avenues are followed, the first thing to do when such fears arise is to consult with a Minnesota family law lawyer experienced in child custody cases for advice on actions to take. A lawyer is in the ideal position to provide advice and calm fears. One can never forget that the best interests of the child must be ensured.

Source: womenslaw.org, "Parental Kidnapping", Accessed on May 10, 2018

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