By Brusca Law
A common complaint during family law litigation is that one parent has threatened to take the children, without warning, and leave the state or country. The threat comes with the caveat that if you accept the settlement agreement being offered during your contentious divorce or modification action, they will not break the law. Children are used as pawns during a divorce unfortunately, and for some parents there may be no amount of therapy or court intervention that will ever change that behavior. There are things you can do to make the Court aware of these threats, and proactive steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
The Court can require that a party post bond or other security in an amount sufficient to serve as a financial deterrent to abduction, and order that the bond or security be used to the reasonable expenses to recover the child, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Before and during the hearing on the issue, your attorney must allege and present substantial competent evidence that there is a risk that one party may violate the court’s parenting plan by removing a child from this state or country or by concealing the whereabouts of a child. (Florida Statutes 61.45 and 61.13001 provide for bonds and security, and you might want to become familiar with both statutes.)
Above and beyond what the Court can do, you can contact the Department of State and complete Form DS-3077, which is called “Request for Entry Into Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program”. Essentially this form gives you an alert when one parent has applied for a passport for the child and allows you to object to the issuance of a passport. In support of your objection, the Department of State may ask that you send them copies of any court orders pertaining to the child that they will keep on file.
If you are truly concerned about the child and or other parent disappearing, visit the Department of State and talk to Brusca Law. Passport application forgeries are commonplaces. Be prepared, do you research, and know the terminology before you go to Court. Call us at 407-501-6564 or fill out the form on our homepage to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help.