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International travel can be a major family-law issue

Photo of Karen Lavin


For many Illinoisans, the airplane has been a wonderful invention. It makes it much faster and easier to travel all over the globe. However, that convenience can be accompanied by a drawback for certain Illinoisans: the risk that an ex-spouse may decide on relocation and not inform the other parent. This family-law risk is particularly acute for international parents.

Fortunately, Illinoisans that are worried about their ex-spouse taking the kids on an international trip can do several things to limit the risk. The first step is to talk with an attorney about the international aspects of their divorce. This discussion should cover the laws of the country or countries the children will visit.

The second step is to get insurance. Illinoisans can request that the departing parent pay a surety bond known as a "Ne Exeat" bond to the court. As part of filing the bond, the departing parent must detail his or her itinerary. The size of the bond depends on the amount of money it would cost for the non-traveling parent to pursue legal action in the foreign country. The more expensive the legal action, the bigger the bond.

A third step parents can take is to contact the State Department. The State Department has a implemented a program known as the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program. Under this program, the State Department attempts to notify both parents whenever a passport application is submitted for the children.

Finally, Illinoisans should regularly talk with their kids while the kids are away. Thanks to Skype and many other forms of communication and cutting edge technology, staying in contact should not be difficult with some advance planning.

Source: Forbes, "Divorced Women: Take Precautions Before Your Children Travel Internationally With Your Ex-Husband," Jeff Landers, May 6, 2014

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