If an individual was married to and had a child with a foreign spouse, there is a chance that the child may be taken to the former spouse's home country. Those who believe that their former spouse would take his or her child outside of the United States can register that complaint with the appropriate court. Doing so may give the American spouse sole custody of the child on a temporary basis.
Such an order will also enable the American spouse to hold the child's passport with the understanding that no replacement passport is to be granted. Once the order has been signed, a hearing will be set to allow the other spouse the ability to register his or her complaints. The proposed order will not be served to the other spouse as that could cause that person to leave the country before a hearing could be held.
If a foreign spouse is already outside of the country when a custody dispute arises, it is important for a parent to voice his or her concerns quickly. It may be possible to work with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in the other country to locate the child. After the child is located, legal documents can be provided ordering the child's return to America.
In cases when a parent has sole custody of a child, the other parent may still have visitation rights or the ability to spend time with the child outside of the home. If a parent has concerns about that arrangement, it may be a good idea to consult with an attorney. Doing so may make it easier to modify an exiting custody arrangement while ensuring that the best interests of the child are still being met.