Q I met my husband, married him, lived in, and had his child in the USA. Suddenly, he wanted us to go to Jordan to visit his family there. After we arrived, he asked to see my and our child’s passports. When I gave him the passports, he announced we’d now live permanently in Jordan.
Weeks later I found the passports, immediately went for a walk with our child, and took a cab to the airport, got on the next flight out of Jordan, and finally got back to Massachusetts. I filed for divorce and got sole legal and physical custody of our child. The judge denied my ex’s request for unaccompanied parenting time because of a high risk of no return of our child. So my ex went back to Jordan and has not asked, nor seen our child since then.
Now, 3 years later, I’m planning a trip for me and our child to Argentina to visit my ailing grandmother. I’m concerned my ex will learn of the trip and attempt to kidnap our child while we’re in Argentina.
Any suggestions on how to make my trip safe?
A If you’ve already posted info about this trip or told others of your plans, do not go. Instead, without telling anyone when or where you going, plan a trip for a few months from now. If you need to tell anyone about the trip, you can tell those who need to know why you’re so concerned about a kidnapping and why they cannot tell anyone else, nor post any of your information on social media.
Wait until a week before you go to tell your child the two of you are going on a trip. If you’re asked “where”, tell your child it’s a surprise. And hint it may be in Florida. So if your child mentions the trip and the false destination and your ex hears about it he’ll only find Minnie and Mickey mouse because you’ll be in Argentina.
Before booking travel, ask the airline what documents it requires for you to travel internationally with your child. Also get have the court give you copies of all relevant divorce and custody documents that grant you sole custody and the right to travel without the father’s written or notarized permission. Then get a certified translation into Spanish for each of those documents.
Last, check the International Academy of Family Lawyers – www.iafl.com – to identify and contact one of its expert family law lawyers in Argentina. It’s better to pay local counsel now to get information on how to make your trip as safe as possible.
By taking these precautions, you and your child are far less likely to pay dearly when it’s too late.