Divorce is frightening—for many, it means finally experiencing the full extent of what your ex will do to hurt you or get back at you. Many divorcing and divorced parents report that their greatest fear during divorce is losing their child. While it’s rare for a parent to lose legal rights to their child completely, that doesn’t always stop the other parent from taking matters into their own hands.
If your ex has taken your child out of the state or country and refuses to return them, you’re understandably overwhelmed, angry, and scared. Let’s work together to fight for your rights to your child. Call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-953-1424.
Time is of the Essence
First, you must act quickly once you suspect your child has been abducted by the other parent. This is especially true if they have taken the child out of the country. This isn’t a time to wait and see if they do the right thing and bring the child back, nor is it a time to convince yourself that you are overreacting. The longer you wait to retain a lawyer and fight for your rights, the more time the other parent has to go off the grid and make it impossible for you to find them.
These matters are often complicated in high asset divorces where there is a large earning discrepancy. If a high-earning parent flees the country with the child, it can be very difficult for the lower-earning parent to afford a legal battle. If the lower-earning parent abducts the child, the higher-earning parent may have the resources needed to get their child back.
Consult Your Court Order
When you begin working with your family law attorney, the first thing you will do is look at your court order. Under Alabama law, a custodial parent may be permitted to move out of state without the other parent’s permission. However, assuming that the move is more than 60 miles away, the custodial parent must first notify the other parent at least 45 days in advance. The non-custodial parent then has 30 days to object to the move.
In your court order, you may find language regarding out-of-state or out-of-country moves. The court order generally requires the parents to either agree on the move or return to court if such a move is anticipated. In rare cases, a court order may grant one parent sole decision-making authority in this matter.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction
The Hague Convention is an international treaty between many countries, covering topics like war, adoption, and international abduction. The Convention covered international child abduction.
The goal of this treaty is to ensure that children who are wrongfully kidnapped by one parent and taken to another country are returned to their parent in their home country. If your co-parent fled to a Hague country, this will help you. If they did not, you may need to explore other avenues. Some non-Hague countries include China outside of Macau and Hong Kong, Vietnam, Russia, and Ethiopia.
Take Preventative Steps Against International Abduction
While few people expect their co-parent to kidnap their child across international borders, it’s important to be aware of this possibility. Before a child can get a passport, both parents are required to sign off on it.
If your ex-partner has professional or personal ties in another country and you believe they could settle down in another country without issue, you may want to keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to agree to a passport. These issues significantly complicate a divorce, so it’s important to talk to your attorney about these concerns.
Choose Kirk Drennan Law for Your Family Law Case
The team at Kirk Drennan Law is here to support you and fight for you during this traumatizing time. We know that you want nothing more than to see your child returned, and we’re ready to advocate for you. Schedule a consultation right away by or calling us at 205-953-1424.