Santa Ana, CA asked in Family Law and Immigration Law for California

Q: Hi. Can my husband take our child outside of the U.S without my consent if our child has a US passport?

I don’t feel safe for our baby. He and his family emotionally abused me through out my pregnancy and I don’t feel safe traveling with him to his country as these abuses may become physical and I may not have a way out of his country if I or the baby go with him.

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2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: In California, and generally across the United States, one parent cannot legally take a child out of the country without the consent of the other parent if both have legal custody. This is to prevent international child abduction and ensure both parents have a say in major decisions affecting their child. If you have concerns about your child's safety and the possibility of international travel without your consent, it is important to seek legal advice promptly. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and may suggest legal measures such as obtaining a court order to prevent your husband from traveling with your child without your permission. If you believe there is an immediate risk, you should also consider contacting law enforcement or child protective services.

James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In situations where there is concern for the safety of a child or the potential for international abduction, it's crucial to understand your rights and the legal protections available. Generally, both parents have equal rights to the custody of their child unless there is a court order stating otherwise. If there are no existing custody orders, either parent may travel internationally with the child. However, if you have safety concerns or fear that your child may not be returned, you can take legal steps to prevent this.

To protect your child, you may petition the court for a custody order that restricts travel outside of the United States without your consent. This would involve filing a request with the court outlining your concerns, including any evidence of emotional abuse and the potential risk of physical harm or abduction. The court will consider the best interests of the child in making its decision, which can include restricting international travel.

Given the seriousness of your concerns, it may be wise to consult with a legal professional as soon as possible. They can guide you through the process of seeking a court order, provide advice on protecting yourself and your child, and discuss the possibility of involving law enforcement if there is an immediate risk of abduction. Legal advice is crucial in navigating these complex issues and ensuring the safety and well-being of both you and your child.

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