International parental kidnapping does exist, and does happen. In fact, major news networks reported in September 2014 that a Beijing-bound United Airlines flight had to return to Dulles International Airport after law enforcement was made aware that a mother was illegally taking her child out of the country. Fortunately, the father had a decree with language preventing the child from being removed from the United States without his approval and got wind of the travel before it was too late.
With today’s more mobile workforce and population, it is more important than ever to make sure you address these concerns with specific language in any decree or order regarding children. Without having a court-order to rely on, a parent does not have as strong a basis to prevent these international parental kidnappings. And once out of the country, it is very hard to force any return. There are international laws to refer to and attempt to rely upon, but both countries must be signatories, and even then, the process is expensive, long, and the result uncertain. You are better served by making sure language is in the decree or order preventing international travel without consent, and then making sure the proper law enforcement agencies have flagged the child’s passport in case the other parent attempts to flee.
Ever hear of a marriage based on lies and deceit? I think everyone has, but never have I seen it laid out as clearly as is done in the opinion below:
Montenegro v. Avila
In this case, a man and woman met on an internet dating site. The man initially claimed to be an engineer in Florida while the woman honestly stated she lived in El Paso. The man finally, after they began to talk about meeting, told her that he could not visit her in Texas because he was in Bogota, Colombia, and could not get a visa. The couple met in Mexico, where the man proposed. He was turned down, but did get $200 to make his way back home. Later that same year, the woman traveled to Colombia, was proposed to, and accepted.
Man, now Husband, gets woman, now Wife, to apply for a visa for him. He gets to the United States, get Wife to open bank accounts in both of their names, and begins withdrawing funds. He doesn’t work until almost a year later, but instead begins the residency process. On and on it goes…
Then Husband finds out about the Violence Against Women Act and how it can be twisted to circumvent the typical visa/residence restrictions. The same day he learns about this he turns himself into a domestic violence center and reported he was being abused physically, verbally, mentally, and sexually. He eventually leaves with the money he’s taken and other ill-gotten goods and moves to another city.
Wife filed for annulment, he filed for divorced. Guess who won? Wife – the marriage was annulled on the grounds of fraud. Very interesting. I’m not an immigration attorney, but I’ll bet that if that marriage visa was based on fraud, as could be concluded by the annulment being granted, he would probably have to leave the country, hence his need to appeal and our ability to read a very interesting appellate decision describing this case!