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Can My Spouse Move Our Children Overseas After Our Divorce? 

Posted on in Divorce

wheaton child custody lawyerInternational travel, global business operations, and wide-scale inward and outward migration mean that, more than ever, couples in Illinois are often made up of one American spouse and one foreign-born spouse. While this may be very romantic in the early stages of a relationship, it can introduce major complications during and after divorce

If one parent moved to the United States from another country, he or she may want to return to their country of origin following a divorce. Parents who do this rarely want to leave their children behind. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where nobody ends up happy: The parent from Illinois does not want their children relocated outside the country, while the parent who is not from the U.S. may not have anything tying them to Illinois besides their former spouse. This can lead to ugly and protracted custody disputes over relocation, and, in worse case scenarios, sometimes the spouse from outside the U.S. will try to leave without permission and take the children. 

What Does the Parenting Agreement Say? 

Parents who are not from the same country should deliberately address this issue in their parenting agreement. Parents born outside of the U.S. will almost certainly want to travel abroad with their children at some point, so the parenting agreement should provide exact details discussing how international travel will be managed. The parenting agreement will also include details about how major decisions will be made, including where the children will live and within which parameters a parent can relocate without court approval. 

If parents share parental responsibilities and one parent wants to relocate outside of those parameters, the other parent has the authority to object. The parent who wishes to relocate must then petition the court for permission to move and a judge will only allow such a move if he or she believes it would be in the child’s best interests. If a child grew up in the U.S. and has a strong relationship with both parents, a judge is unlikely to decide that uprooting a child to another country would be in the child’s best interests. 

What if My Ex Already Took the Children Without Permission? 

Some countries, like Canada, have agreements with the U.S. that require U.S. court orders to be enforced within that country. So, if your ex took your child to Canada without permission, a Canadian court will order them to return the child to the U.S. Other countries, however, do not have these kinds of agreements. Locating your ex and your child, and then trying to convince a court in another country to return the child back to the U.S., can be a complex and stressful process. If your spouse has taken your child out of the country, speak to an attorney right away to get help with your next steps. 

Meet with a Wheaton, IL Parental Responsibilities Lawyer

The prospect of your ex moving your children to another country can be devastating. If you want to protect your parental rights and fight to keep your children close to home, call the experienced Wheaton parental responsibilities lawyers with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.. We have experience with very complex custody issues, including situations where father’s rights need to be protected. Call us now at 630-462-9500 to schedule an initial consultation.  

 

Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8675000&SeqEnd=12200000 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2497&ChapterID=59 

 

 

 

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