Child custody is one of the most contentious issues in many divorces. When one Illinois spouse has international connections, the child custody fight becomes even more contentious.
Legal international child custody
This is not to say that international child custody is not possible and legal. Indeed, there are thousands of divorced parents who co-parent across international borders for a myriad of reasons. However, they do so with the consent of the other spouse, or at a minimum, with the consent of their local family law judge.
This means that if the soon-to-be ex-spouses can agree among themselves on an international custody arrangement, the family law judge will likely approve it. If not, the family law judge will need to approve any proposed international co-parenting agreement. The international moving parent will have a high bar to prove that this new arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
What happens if the parent does not care?
If you do not want the other parent to take your child out of the country, and the court finds against the international child custody arrangement, be proactive. Ask the judge for an order directly ordering your ex to not take the child out of the court’s jurisdiction, state, country, etc.
This will ensure that if you find out that they are seeking to abscond overseas with your child, you have the ability to stop them. The International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act usually requires some kind of court order, and having one already ready can save you valuable time later.
If you have the court order and proof of your parentage available, then you have the ability to speak with any airline’s corporate security officer. This person has the ability to both tell you if your child has an airline ticket booked and to cancel it.
You can call this person periodically to check if your ex-spouse has a ticket booked, if you truly believe that your spouse is planning something nefarious. The U.S. Department of State also has a Prevention Branch for this issue as well, and the airport police can help too.