What to do if I’m afraid that my baby’s father will take her out of the country?

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What to do if I’m afraid that my baby’s father will take her out of the country?

My baby girl is due early next year. I am concerned that if my ex and I get split custody of the child issued by court, he will take the child away to Pakistan (where he is from, as well as his fundamentalist family). What are the laws regarding that? In addition, how do I go about making a simple court order, do I call the court? (I don’t have money for a lawyer and he does). Are the child custody laws only emphasized in America. So can he just espcape the country with my daughter, and as long as he doesn’t come back to the US, he can’t get arrested? Can infants have passports, can he just take the infant out of the country? He threatened that he’d sell the baby girl for “good”.

Asked on October 28, 2012 under Family Law, Illinois

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You had a couple of more questions regarding orders.  Generally, the court won't enter an order for the child until after it's born, but as the prior answer suggests, you can get an order in place right now for your safety.  Shop around to a couple of family law attorneys.  If he can afford an attorney-- then you can too--- by this I mean that whoever you hire can ask the court to order him to pay for your attorney's fees as well.  Many battered women don't realize this and stay in abusive situations because of financial desperation, not just the fear.  But, if you are in fear for your safety or you are having a hard time getting away from him, contact a local church or women's shelter.  Just about every county or region in the U.S. has a shelter or program designed to help women in controlling and abusive situations.  They can also help you find an affordable attorney.  Many churches offer referrals and help even if you don't attend their church-- so just starting contacting one after another until you find one with an outreach program.  Your local law enforcement agency will also have a list of shelters or programs for abused women.

If you are really concerned, it's best to start planning now.  Even if you get an order, it will be hard to enforce in another country.   Other countries don't necessarily have to abide by U.S. laws. Other parents of parental kidnappings have had to go through treaties, consulates, and extensive red tapes to get offending parents arrested and their children returned. To prevent him from doing this, your best avenue would be restricted visitations where he could visit the child, but not leave your presence with the child.    

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First the child will need to get a passport with the mother for travel outside the United States. Given your concerns as to your "ex" I suggest that you consult with a family law attorney about geting a child support order as well as an order from the family law court that your "ex" cannot take your child outide your state of residence absent court approval. Given what you have stated, you might also want to get a restraining order against the "ex" as to you and your child.


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