An Ohio attorney submits a letter to the editor in regard to a case where her client won a hollow victory in an international parental child abduction case.
A US Court apparently awarded her client custody of his children.
Unfortunately, the mother of the children has them with her in Japan. And Japan won’t honor the US judgment and return the children.
The attorney’s message is, in a nutshell, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If minor American children don’t have passports, the very best prevention of international parental child abduction is to block their issuance.
This can be accomplished by either parent registering in the US Department of State’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.
Remember though that some children may have dual citizenship by virtue of one parent’s foreign citizenship. If so, the foreign parent may be able to obtain a foreign passport for the children, sometimes without the American parent’s knowledge or consent.
Once a passport has been issued to a child, there is no way to ensure that that child cannot travel abroad.
Many common carriers do require written consent of both parents to each trip abroad, but this is not a legal requirement.
Once a family court case is filed, a court may issue an order to secure children’s passports and prohibit foreign travel, but it doesn’t happen automatically.