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I'm afraid my spouse is going to leave the country with my child, what should I do?

Every so often you hear in the news that one parent has kidnapped a child and taken him to another country. These instances are rare, but do happen. The Florida Legislature has given the court’s certain powers to help prevent the kidnapping of children in these type of cases. If the court finds that a parent may violate a parenting plan and remove the minor child out of the state or country, Florida Statute 61.45 sets forth several options available to the court. The court can do the following: 1) order that a parent may not remove the child from this state without the notarized written permission of both parents or further court order; 2) Order that a parent may not remove the child from this country without the notarized written permission of both parents or further court order; 3) Order that a parent may not take the child to a country that has not ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction unless the other parent agrees in writing that the child may be taken to the country; or 4) Require a parent to surrender the passport of the child.

The Court can also require that The petitioner place the child’s name in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program of the United States Department of State. This would require that the Department of State alert you when the other parent is applying for a passport for the minor child. The Court could also order the respondent to surrender to the court or the petitioner’s attorney any United States or foreign passport issued in the child’s name, including a passport issued in the name of both the parent and the child. The Court could also require that a party post bond or other security in an amount sufficient to serve as a financial deterrent to abduction, the proceeds of which may be used to pay the reasonable expenses of recovery of the child, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, if the child is abducted.

There are many other things a court may do to prevent one parent from abducting a child and fleeing to another country. It is always in your best interest to discuss your options with your expert family law attorney if you believe this may be an issue for you in the future.

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