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If your spouse has strong ties to another country, you may worry that he or she will disappear with your children in tow to some far-off land where you will never see them again.

It's a reasonable fear. When a marital relationship breaks down, strong feelings about the future of the children from the relationship often surface. If you're afraid that your spouse will abduct the children overseas, here are some practical things you need to discuss with your attorney.

1. Emergency instructions

If any of your children are old enough to memorize a phone number or can call 911, it may be wise to discuss what to do if the child is alarmed or finds himself or herself in an airport with the other parent. You should also know what steps your attorney wants you to take as soon as you realize your children are missing.

2. Notifying others

You may be unclear about who you should alert to a potential problem. Your attorney may want you to notify school authorities -- or even the nearby airports about your concerns. You may also be tempted to talk to your children's overseas relatives -- but hold off until your attorney can review the issue.

3. Location tracking

Modern technology may be useful in your situation. Find out if it's acceptable to put a global positioning system (GPS) device in your children's shoes or backpacks and a tracking app on their phones for added security.

4. Court orders

It may be necessary to ask the court to take control of your children's passports so that they cannot be used -- especially while the custody case is pending.

You always want to aim to prevent a problem -- rather than waiting until it happens to respond. Don't be afraid to bring up your questions about international abductions and custody with your attorney right away in order to protect your children. The more you know, the safer your children will be.


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