International Child Abduction Attorney Provides Guidance for Parents with Children Traveling Abroad This Holiday Season

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Michael Manely, renowned International Family Law Attorney, offers tips and advice for parents with children traveling abroad.

According to renowned International Family Law Attorney, Michael Manely, non-custodial parents should not travel internationally with their children residing in the United States without the express and limited permission of their child’s custodial parent. Parental Child Abduction is a federal crime. "Removing a child from the United States against another parent’s wishes can be prosecuted criminally in every state under the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA)," said Manely.

The holidays are a natural time for extended families and friends to seek opportunities to connect with loved ones and their children. Isolation from extended family can be traumatic for children and risks serious emotional and psychological harm. Therefore, if parents can agree on travel abroad, there are measures that can be taken to increase the likelihood of a safe, timely return.

Parents with children at risk of being taken abroad without their consent should obtain several certified copies of their custody decree from the court that issued it. Give a copy to the child’s other routine child care providers and clarify with them to whom the child may be released.

A safe and timely return may be ensured by requiring the non-custodial parent traveling abroad to post a bond. This is a deterrent to abduction and, if forfeited because of abduction, a source of revenue for location and recovery efforts.

Keep your child’s passport locked in a safe location and enter into the State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).

U.S. Customs and Border Control recommends that when a minor child is traveling internationally with only one parent, the parent have a notarized letter from the child’s other parent authorizing travel, as well as other documentation authorizing travel. This documentation should include certified copies of a court order authorizing travel outside the United States.

Once an abduction is in progress, timing is of the essence. In addition to securing local counsel with experience in preventing International Child Abduction, parents may contact The U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747. Local state and airport authorities may be contacted, but are hesitant to get involved without a certified court order prohibiting the removal of the child from the United States.

To locate a list of contact information for Commercial Air Carriers, click here. To learn more about international family law, visit

Michael Manely, of The Manely Firm P.C. is the only attorney to have won a unanimous decision before the United States Supreme Court on an international family law and custody matter within the last ten years. After 24 years in law and a prominence in international custody cases, Manely is an expert on the intricacies of parenting across borders.

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