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International and Interstate Holiday Travel With Children

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2016 | International Family Law

Often in post divorce, children travel extensively through the holidays. If Mom lives in Marietta and Dad lives in Lawrenceville, the travel may be just a few hours as they traverse around I-285. If Mom lives in Savannah and Dad lives in Los Angeles, travel will probably take several hours as the children travel through Hartsfield International. If Mom lives in Atlanta and Dad lives in Berlin, travel will probably take the better part of a day or night as the children fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

Travel is often routine, and holiday travel is no different. What can make travel perilous, however, is the prospect of the children being kept, abducted, at the end of their holiday period. The other parent, the abductor, declares that they won’t return the children. So there! Maybe they contend it is because the children don’t want to come home. Maybe they contend that the children had been maltreated at home. Or maybe they just contend they won’t return them because they don’t want to return them. We’ve handled it all.

So the left behind parent is forced to do something about it or they simply won’t get their children back. The left behind parent thought that the children would return, full of holiday cheer, and they would soon return to school and the parent to work and life would go back to its normal rhythm. But now the left behind parent will have lots of worry and have to spend lots of money in several forums, perhaps even several continents in multiple languages, in the hope of having their children safely returned home.

This certainly won’t happen to everyone, but it happens often enough that we are kept very busy trying to get children returned after every major holiday, and Christmas time is the worst. International and Interstate child abduction is a lot of what we do.

We also do a lot of pre-emptive work. Recently, we discovered that a dad was planning to not return the children at the end of his holiday period this year. It is easy enough then to do something about that and we did. The children won’t be getting on that plane. The court will be getting involved. Dad just made the worst mistake he could make.

But even when we have no hard evidence that a parent is planning to abduct, there are plenty of indicators, red flags, that sometimes scream at you that the likelihood of abduction is high, that something must be done to minimize the risk. Something can be done to minimize that risk.

And even when there are few to no red flags, there are things that can be done to safeguard and better insure the return of the children, things that no parent who is not planning to abduct the children should have any problem with. And therefore, if they do have a problem with the proposed program, you know that they were planning to abduct the children.

I’m sure I’m jaded. I’ve argued this issue in courts throughout the land, throughout the world and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s bound to make me a little anxious about the issue. But I don’t know why parents who are sending their babies off, whether it is international or even interstate, don’t lock down the chance of their children not returning to them. It isn’t that hard to do and it makes for a much more restful holiday time while the wee ones are celebrating across the country or across the pond with their other parent.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventative medicine is indeed the best.