If I get a divorce from my wife can she take and live with our kids out of country without my permission? 27 Answers as of May 30, 2013

My wife and I have been talking about getting a divorce. She has threatened me that if we do, she will leave with the kids to her native country of Mexico. Both kids, I am the biological father.

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Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
Technically, to make such a move, she would need to petition the court to get an order allowing her to make such a move. She could do so without getting a court order, but if there is no order granting permission, she is subject to discipline by the court.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/25/2012
The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
To prevent this, I would go ahead and file for divorce and get some restraining orders in place preventing her from leaving the State until the divorce is finalaized. Mexico is the destination country of the greatest number of children abducted from the United States by a parent. A party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction since 1991, Mexico was found to be not compliant with the Convention in the Department of States 2009 compliance report, though compliance improved in 2010. In short, if the kids have passports and enter Mexico, you probably will not see them again. Please hire an attorney and get some orders in place. The court is authorized to hold the kids passports until the time of trial.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/25/2012
Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
You will need to file an ex parte (with an attorney) to obtain an order to prevent her from taking the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/25/2012
Burnett Evans Banks
Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
If your history has been one of love and involvement with your children, and you object to your wife's desire to remove your children from the United States, it is extremely unlikely that she will be able to convince the Court that such a move would be in the children's best interests.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 1/25/2012
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
Possibly. You could fight her by seeking a restraining order. Her actions are a form of spousal abuse. See a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 1/25/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    This can be a really thorny issue. Since her native country is Mexico, she has a right to return there, but if the children were born here, they are American citizens. If a divorce happens, make sure your attorney addresses this issue with the court. Sometimes divorce and child custody decrees have provisions about when and if a party can leave the country with the minor children, and how long they can be away.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/25/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    She probably will not be permitted to remove the children from the US without approval from you or the judge, but that is a decision that has to be decided during the divorce. However, until the divorce case is started, she may be able to successfully remove the children from the US and it will be very difficult and expensive to try and get them returned. So, to protect against her threats you should consult a lawyer immediately and get a divorce case started. Once the case starts in Colorado , both of you are prohibited from removing the children until the case is fully decided.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Once a divorce is filed she cannot leave the country while the case is pending. If she has made these threats then you should address this in the divorce case and ask the judge to take a possible relocation out of the country into account when determining custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    You should be wise here and immediately file a divorce case, and obtain a restraining order from removing the children out of the Sate of California, or perhaps the county you live in. As long as you fail to take this precaution, there is nothing stopping your wife from fleeing the country, and if she does you may never see the children again. This happens all the time. When you are dealing with children, competent legal representation should always be sought, as the subject matter of the litigation is so very important. One mistake here could cause the biggest adverse consequence of your life
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Since your wife has made that threat, you should file and serve a divorce case against your wife without delay. The reverse side of the Summons contains Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders restraining the parties from removing the children from the state of California during the divorce case. Also, you should file an Ex Parte Application for specific restraining orders based on her threat, including orders that the childrens' passports must be immediately delivered to you. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Physically? maybe. Legally? Not if you put any effort into stopping it. Let me explain: when you file for divorce, you can ask for and you will get geographic restriction on the residence of the children prohibiting her from taking them to live in Mexico. In fact, you will get a geographic restriction to keep her in the County or counties close by unless she can show that there are exigent circumstances which weigh in the children's favor by allowing her to move away with them. This is, as you might imagine, a difficult tasks that you can make harder. Furthermore, you can file notices with the State Department and get the Court to issue Passport Controls. In short if she tries to board a plane, bus or train that travels across the border, the carrier will demand authorization from you, don't give it. Furthermore, American citizens crossing the border into Mexico now need a passport. so you can stop her from going with a little proactive footwork. A notice to the State Department, a provision in the Divorce Decree, and other proactive measures which are relatively simple to handle make it difficult if not impossible for her to cross the border with the children (at least legally). You can even ask for and generally get a bond provision that requires her to post cash bond before taking the children across the border (legally). I use the caveat of "legally" to point out that if there are persons who for a price will sneak an individual into the US, they are generally returning to Mexico without any cargo and would likely jump on the opportunity to earn fees both directions. Now, back to the practical issue: Can she drive to Laredo or some other border town and walk across the border without being stopped? If she is stopped, since she is Mexican (does she carry a US Passport or still maintain a Mexican Passport) will the border guard check or ask questions related to the children? I cannot answer that last question, I am merely posing it for your consideration.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    She would have to get a court order first. So, you need to make sure your divorce addresses custody and where they kids will live. If you have court orders, no, she should not be able to leave the country with the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Offices of Jayson A. Soobitsky, P.A. | Jayson A. Soobitsky
    The short answer is no. Your Wife must have your consent to obtain a passport. If the kids already have a passport then it depends on what your settlement agreement or court order says. The Maryland Courts are generally against removing the kids from state and access to the other parent.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    If divorce is inevitable you should retain an attorney and file yourself as soon as possible so you can seek custody as well as obtain a court order forbidding her to leave the country with the children. There are International laws to protect one parent from the other abducting the child(ren) but once the child leaves the country it can be very expensive and difficult to them back.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Joan M. Canavan | Joan Canavan
    If you get a divorce from your Wife, she cannot legally take the children to Mexico without a Court order. If she does, it is considered kidnapping which is a federal offense because she is going out of state.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Kelly A. Broadbent, Esq.
    Kelly A. Broadbent, Esq. | Kelly Broadbent
    In Massachusetts, if you get a divorce, if one party wants to move out of the state to another state or country and the other party does not agree, it must go before the judge, who would make a decision.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    You must file and at the same time ask for a temporary injunction/restraining Order prohibiting her from leaving the jurisdiction of the Court until the case is resolved and maybe then you need a permanent injunction to assure that she will not take off later. That is your best move to get the children back if she tries to run. Get a good lawyer to do it all at once when you file and be sure to tell the lawyer about her threat to leave with the children.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    When you file for a divorce, include the issue of the move away to the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    If you file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage, also request an immediate restraining order prohibiting her from removing the children from the state. Also, take possession of the passports for the children and place them in a safe deposit box.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    No. I do not have enough information to fully respond to your question. However, to remove NJ residents who are minors from the jurisdiction requires either permission of the other spouse or a court order.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Office of M. Jude Egan | M. Jude Egan
    In a word, No. But you will certainly need to make the argument to the court that you are worried about this. On the UCCJEA form you can tell the Court that you are worried (and she has threatened)that she will take the kids out of the country. I am assuming the kids are American citizens (although the question does not hinge on that). She would have to get a move away order from the court to allow her to move out of the country. This one is a very good idea to press forward on with the Court to make sure that she is not allowed to move to Mexico without your permission and to absolutely let the court know that you do not give your approval and that you are worried that she will do so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    I assume that the children were born here and lived most of their lives in California. If this is the case, you should immediately file your divorce petition and serve that along with a motion preventing the children from being removed from the state of California or the USA.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/24/2012
    The Law Offices of Jill Puertas LLC | Jill Puertas
    With regard to custody of children in the state of Missouri, the Judge will rule "in the best interest of the children". The Judge will look at the ages of the children, family and friends in the area, their educational and extracurricular attachments, etc. in determining what is in their best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/24/2012
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