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How can I prevent my child from being taken abroad?

It’s the right of every child to be able to spend equal time with both of their parents. Oftentimes, though, when parents fear that their visitation with their child may be limited or custody altogether withdrawn from them, it may lead them to want to take drastic measures to ensure that this doesn’t occur.

This is unfortunately what leads many parents to either illegally travel outside of the state with their child or to even abduct them internationally.

Although common sense may tell you that if you share custody of your child with their other parent, you should be able to travel with them wherever you like, in most jurisdictions, it’s illegal to do so. Where you’re allowed to take them is both regulated by state law and further spelled out in your parenting plan.

As part of most parenting plans, it will restrict both out-of-state and international travel without prior consent of the other parent being provided.

To prevent your child from being taken abroad without your knowledge, the United States Department of State (DOS) has created a Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).

Once parents enroll in this program, it leads the person registering the child’s name on the list to receive an alert of any original or renewal passport application being filed for that minor child.

Attorneys, judges, law enforcement agencies, parents and Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies are all authorized to request that any American citizen under the age of 18 be enrolled in CPIAP.

While enrollment in this program doesn’t prevent the child from altogether being issued a passport, it does ensure that his or her record is flagged. This lets DOS staff know that there is an existing parental order in place that needs to be reviewed and adhered to before any passport issuance decisions are made.

Enrolling your child in CPIAP also doesn’t prevent parents from taking their kids abroad on a preexisting passport. There are, however, other measures in place to help prevent against this also occurring.

If you are concerned that your ex may attempt to take your son or daughter abroad without your consent for the purpose of an international abduction, then a Belleville child custody attorney can advise you of your rights.

Source: U.S. Department of State, “Child abduction: Frequently asked questions,” accessed Feb. 02, 2018

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