Traveling with a child abroad after divorce

Q: Can the Lower Family Court judge grant the trip abroad when one parent requests and the other opposes, especially when the parent and the child have dual citizenship of the US and the country they are traveling to and also the parent wants to take the child out of the country without securing Ne Exeat Bond? Is it common for the judge to let them go without the bond?

A: International divorce problems are very real and very common. Divorced parties are concerned that if their spouse goes to another country with their children that it will be very difficult (and in certain cases impossible) to enforce the tenets of the divorce agreement (including custody rights)  outside the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice. These cases can be not only problematic but very expensive.

There is a remedy for this situation and more parents are seeking it in order to mitigate their fears regarding international divorce and custody rights. In family law, this is such a surety bond called a ¨Ne Exeat¨ Bond, that translates ” No leaving” and this bond is used as a guarantee that the party wishing to leave with the children of a dual custody divorce will uphold the mutually signed divorce agreement. The Exeat Bond is set at estimated cost that the parent in the United States will incur in pursuing legal action in the country where the other parent took the child if that parent does not live up to their end of the divorce agreement. To procure the bond, the parent that is traveling outside the country with the child will have to show proof of international address, and other information to secure that the party is going to that country and not other one.

The presiding judge in the family law case is presented with the issue and the request for the traveling parent to secure a Ne Exeat Bond and based on the facts and circumstances proper to the parties, including but not limited to,  the evidence presented by the traveling party that the bond is not needed but unduly burdensome because of the ties and connections the traveling party has to his country and that they have no past history of attempting to conceal the child from the other party but to abiding to the current custody and visitation orders.

As to your question, I am also a practitioner in the area of Family law and yes, it is common for a judge to let a parent with dual citizenship and foreign passport to take the other child out of the country without securing a Ne Exeat Bond.

If the non-traveling parent has credible fear of the other parent not returning to the United States or to seek another action in the country where he or she is taking the child, the parent must seek the legal advise of a family law attorney with experience in cases of international abduction and difficulty of enforcing foreign court orders in the country where the child is going to be taken.


Eliana Phelps

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