GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) — Summer is here and the highlight of summer is often a vacation. If your ex wishes to take your children to a foreign country be aware of the dangers. Whether it is a vacation to sunny Mexico or a visit to your ex’s homeland you need to feel secure that your children are safe and will return. Passports need to be in order and usually both parents must give permission for the child to leave the country. Be sure to discuss any plans to take the children to a country where it is not considered safe to visit. This could change so be sure to check the U.S. government site that lists countries considered to be unsafe and the reasons why at: travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html
Visiting a country that does not recognize the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is a concern. If a parent takes a child to a country that does not recognize the Hague Convention there is no legal process in place to ensure that the parent returns the child to the United States. The Convention’s intention was to uphold whatever custody arrangement existed before the child was removed or retained and prevent international child abduction. It applies only to children up to the age of 16.
Even if the country being visited has signed the Convention on International Child Abduction, many countries only sporadically enforce it or enforce it with a slant that relates to their own customs. Of particular concern is a parent who is from a country that is not a member of the Convention who wants to take their child back to their homeland to visit. Once the child is in that country there is no legal framework for his or her return.
Normally, international travel is a magnificent teaching tool for children that exposes them to the world, other cultures and customs, languages and more so use common sense when deciding whether or not is is safe for your ex to take the kids overseas. If your ex spouse is bitter and angry about the divorce, seeks full custody and is hostile to your parenting time you may want to contact an attorney before allowing your children to accompany him on an international trip. For more information about countries that are a party to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction go to:travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/…/hague-party-countries.html
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.