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Stopping your ex from taking your child across the border

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2023 | Child Custody, Family Law |

Child custody issues can quickly devolve into an ever-escalating war of words that leads to litigation. When that is paired with a contentious divorce, the litigation battle can easily become a war. Unfortunately, one escalation that some parents use is to abscond with their child, and when that Riverside, California, parent has familial connections overseas, they may attempt to take the child out of the United States. Luckily, there are ways to stop this from happening, but do not wait for them to step onto the plane.

Judicial moves

The airport, airlines, law enforcement and foreign governments will need a court order to help you. This is, at least partially, because of the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act. You will need to file an emergency order with the court to prevent your ex-spouse from removing your minor child from the court’s jurisdiction, the country or the state. This will give the authorities the specific authority to stop your spouse’s travel. Next, contact the United States Department of State, Prevention Branch as they can get the wheels of the government moving as well.

Law enforcement

Once you have the court order, you can then contact the police, both local and federal (FBI). In addition to asking them to help you stop this parental child abduction, you also need to ask that your child be entered into the National Crime Information Center as soon as possible to ensure that California Highway Patrol (as well as other state troopers and highway patrols) is on notice of the abduction. Always get your detective’s name, direct number, their backup officer’s name and direct number and the 24-hour coverage dispatch line because you are going to be working this case as well.

Stopping their travel

While you may think that the call to law enforcement should be enough, it is not. There is no national exit control in the United States. As such, just because you have a California court order and called the police to enforce it does not mean that your ex-spouse cannot still hop on a plane and leave the country. You will still need to call the airlines and the airport police.

When you talk with the airlines, ask for the corporate security officer. You will need to explain the situation, have a copy of your court order ready, in addition to proof of your parentage. Ask whether your child is booked and get their details. Get those details to the police, find out if they want you to cancel those tickets and follow the advice of law enforcement and your Riverside, California, attorney.


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