How to Prevent the Other Parent from Taking Your Child Out of the USA Due to Fear the Child Will Not be Returned; the Hague Conference

If your former spouse desires to take your child out of the country and you are hesitant to agree due to fear that the spouse will not return the child to the United States, you can obtain court assistance to prohibit it.

You may be able to stop your child from being taken out of the country simply on grounds that the country where your former spouse wants to take the child is not a member of the Hague Conference.  The Haugue Conference is an international treaty that some, but not all countries, have signed off on stating they will cooperate in efforts to locate and bring back to their home country wrongfully taken or kept children. 

It is also helpful if you can allege other reasons why you believe there is a likelihood that your former spouse will not return the child when the vacation or extended stay in the other country concludes.  For instance, if your former spouse has made threats regarding this in the past, or if your former spouse has many family members or other connections in the other country but little or no ties to the U.S.

If you have these concerns and your child does not yet have a passport, you can refuse to sign off on the passport application, leaving the other parent to initiate court action if they are still seeking the same.  If your child already has a passport, you must take immediate, emergency court action to obtain an order prohibiting the travel, which can then be presented to the appropriate officials.  Likewise, if you are the former spouse of a parent who is refusing to sign a passport application without good cause, you can seek a court order for the passport without the other parent's cooperation.

Retaining an attorney experienced in the above matters is crucial.  Summer R. Nichols has argued at several hearings regarding child passport issues.

Below is a link to a list of countries who are currently members of the Hague Conference:

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=states.listing

See also Matura v. Griffin, 5D12-4182 (Fla. 5th DCA January 21, 2014), online at http://www.5dca.org/Opinions/Opin2014/012714/5D12-4182.op.pdf, for a case regarding the Court's denial of a Father's request to take his child out of the U.S. to Jamaica for parenting time, where Jamaica is not a member of the Hauge Conference, the Father had previously threatened to kidnap the child, and the Father had been convicted of domestic violence against the Mother.