Marrying someone from another country may have seemed exciting. You may have looked forward to blending your cultures and sharing your traditions with your children. Perhaps you even considered moving to your spouse’s country as a permanent home.
When the marriage began to turn sour, you had many decisions to make. Now, you are facing the very real possibility that your spouse will take the children out of the country without your permission. This terrifying scenario may mean separation from your children indefinitely, so the sooner you address your concerns and learn about your legal options, the more prepared you will be if the conflict arises.
The law is on your side
Relocating to another country with the children against your will is a federal crime. Fortunately, many other countries have an agreement with the U.S. to help parents regain custody of their children after an unlawful parental abduction.
The most important treaty you can learn about is The Hague Convention, which applies to children 16 and under. If your spouse plans to take or has already taken the children to one of the countries that have signed this treaty, you can expect cooperation with your efforts to bring them home.
Taking positive steps
You are facing some challenges when it comes to protecting your children from your spouse’s plans to leave the country with them. You can help your situation by taking the following actions as soon as possible:
- Informing your Texas family court judge of the possibility of an international parental abduction may allow the judge to place travel restrictions on your spouse.
- It will be important to learn as much as you can about the family courts and traditions in your spouse’s home country so you are prepared to face any barriers.
- If your spouse has already left the country with the kids, try to keep in close contact with them to maintain a bond through letters, video chat and other means.
- If possible, take steps to temporarily relocate to your spouse’s country during the time it takes to resolve the matter.
International custody disputes can be time consuming and difficult. This is why it is wise to have a skilled attorney on your side who understands the terms of The Hague Convention and has extensive experience dealing with international family courts. An experienced attorney will also have the resources to help you locate your children and negotiate for their safe return.