A TIP FOR PREVENTING PARENTAL ABDUCTION OF A CHILD TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY
CNN posted an article in October of 2009 that raised the question about what a parent can do to prevent child abduction. According to the article, Christopher Savoie, an American father, was granted full custody of his children by a Tennessee Court after learning that they were removed to Japan without his consent by their mother. He went to Japan to retrieve the children and was put in jail for his attempt to abduct his own children.
Japan is not a signator to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Mr. Savoie was arrested by Japanese police officers called by the children’s mother when he attempted to take the children to the American consulate to obtain their passports to return to the U.S.
In cases involving worries of abduction, I advise non-custodial parents to request the children’s passports be held by the Court. A passport may be issued to a parent with sole custody, and any parent with worry that the other may abduct the child is encouraged to push for a joint legal custody order, to prevent the unconsented-to issuance of a passport. Additionally, when parties settle, I include language indicating that Minnesota shall have sole exclusive jurisdiction over custody and parenting time disputes. However, I also advise my clients that I cannot guarantee a foreign Court will feel bound by that language.
The U.S. State Department’s web site for obtaining a passport for a minor child can be reached at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html.
The passport application form specifies the document requirements to obtain a passport, which include:
To submit an application for a child under age 16 both parents or the child’s legal guardian(s) must appear and present the following:
- Evidence of the child’s U.S. citizenship,
- Evidence of the child’s relationship to parents/guardian(s), AND
- Parental/guardian identification.
IF ONLY ONE PARENT APPEARS YOU MUST ALSO SUBMIT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Second parent’s notarized written statement consenting to passport issuance for the child,
- Primary evidence of sole authority to apply, OR
- A written statement (made under penalty of perjury) explaining the second parent’s unavailability.
Cooper & Reid, LLC is a Minnesota law firm focusing on family law and social security disability matters for clients of modest means. Our community-focused practice brings many years of experience and high-quality legal representation to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. We offer sliding scale fees to low-income clients and innovative representation arrangements for pro se litigants. Find out more about Cooper & Reid, LLC at www.cooperandreid.com
Published by: ABP World Group International Child Recovery Services