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Should I allow a trip to the USA?

My ex has expressed a wish to take my son to the states for a month in October, there are concerns about return

My ex has expressed a wish to take my son to the states for a month in October, the reason given was to attend her hew husband's friend's wedding. Although obviously to also meet her new family and for my son to meet his new step family.

Although I consider that this would be a great experience for my son, I have some doubts/worries that it could be the last time I see my son, if I let him go. The ex has verbally tried to stress that she'd never not return him/stop me from seeing him.

Another complexity is that I would like, in the next few years, to take my son to meet his family in the UK. i.e. my mother, brothers, nephews and nieces, so a refusal to sign may adversely affect this.

Another worry is that if I make it difficult, i.e. don't agree to sign the passport, that it may be said to my son that I'm stopping him from going to the states, something which I'm pretty sure he'd love to do.

Any advice and views would be greatly appreciated, especially if there are ways that some enforceable form of surety/security of return could be made.
Hi. First post from me. I think the site is an excellent resource. Well done everyone.

On the topic of the post, I believe you should agree to the travel and make sure to sound enthusiastic when talking to your son about the trip. It will generate goodwill, and you will benefit from that.

The USA has a good record of enforcing the Hague convention (unlike some, particularly Germany).

If the risk of non-return is serious you can seek a bond. An amount sufficient to cover your costs of recovery and a trip over to the States, but if the risk is low don't even raise it as an issue.
Depending on the flight risk posed, and only you will be best placed to assess this, I would agree but with a bond as per Testing-one-two's suggestion.

If the bond is not possible (OS trips are dear enough!) I have seen judgements where a lien is taken on a credit card - if the child is not returned!

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Mike

This is obviously going to be a personal trade off because of your trip to the UK.

Perhaps a surety (bond) against any costs might be the way to go.

The USA has a 'reasonable' record of returns under the 'Hague' but due to its complex State and Federal jurisdictional set up it is not a straight forward procedure as the UK.

Whilst England, Scotland and Ireland are Hague members for the purpose of 'Hague' they are generally treated as one entity and the UK legal system is single tiered.

(Another poster made an interesting and accurate comment about Germany - for particular reasons they do not like Australian recoveries.)


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Personal reassurance from X's mean very little and should count little towards your decision.

You are the best judge of weather she would run or not as you will be aware how entrenched her life is in Aus, I also put little significance to the child as too meeting the new extended family that will have no major benefit to him but a trip to America, thats the biggy, thats a big buzz for a young fella and it would broaden him.

If you could get security through visa application time limit it would be less of a hindrance than financial assurety and less of a punch in the face so to speak. Is there a way the visa can be defined to limit the stay. Like has been said it will be a pay off for the future so you want to be able top comply to what you are asking now.

MikeT said
My ex has expressed a wish to take my son to the states for a month in October,……..Although I consider that this would be a great experience for my son, I have some doubts/worries that it could be the last time I see my son, if I let him go. The ex has verbally tried to stress that she'd never not return him/stop me from seeing him.
The extradition arangements with the USA are relatively good should the worst case scenario develop. Are you in a situation you can discuss your concerns with the mother and indicate you would be prepared to provide a signature for the passport on the basis there is either some agreement in place or surety deposit paid into an independant account that can be drawn on. You must have valid reasons for your concerns and therefore see the need for some additional security. It is not an easy task to on the one hand be satisfied that security is in place and then on the other hand have a flexible enough arrangement that is not so onerous on the other party that when it is time for you to travel things become difficult.

Orders through a court make it clear but if you are not planning to go back and if the parties are amiable and able to agree to something it is probably the best option. Just the discussion topic alone will probably lead to some angst from the other side. Nothing exciting at all in this post and you are going to have to try and find a workable arrangement. A very difficult topic.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
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Thanks to everybody for replying.

In general, yep after 7 (ooops that's 8 years when the guilt card is being played), I should know what the risks are, but to be honest I don't. The ex's family history is one of playing the unsuspecting/wary … so you never know what to expect with more than one involved person.

A Bond, I'm pretty sure that pleading poverty would be the only result, oh and of course the angst that Secretary_SPCA suspects, that's already reared it's head, although I retaliated without angst with reasons why I'm such a monster.

I've been a little while in responding because I've done a lot of thinking and looking around, to try to ascertain the recovery process and cost. The latter I've not been able to find, although saying that it does appear that I'd stand, this being based upon Director General, Department of Child Safety V Christodoulos (aka Petrou), in which it appears that returning the child to the habitual country of residence is paramount and that would be as long as it was clear/likely that there was no agreement for the trip to be permanent.

I've also started work on what may be a solution, an agreement that she sign before a JP, here's the first draft:
I, ?????, born on September nnth 19nn, do hereby solemnly swear to abide by the following conditions for the temporary removal of my son, aaaaa, born on nnth September 19nn, subsequently referred to as the child, from Australia, to the United States of America.

I agree that the removal shall be for a maximum of one calendar month, that month being the month of October 2008.

I agree to be liable for all direct and indirect costs of the child's recovery, should the child not be returned, according to the dates as previously set out, to Australia, this liability extending to compensation for any such costs incurred by the father or those representing him or acting on his behalf.

I agree to be liable for all direct and indirect costs of re-establishing the habitual contact regime, as established prior to the child's temporary removal from Australia, with the child's father, this liability extending to compensation for any such costs incurred by the father or those representing him or acting on his behalf.

I agree to ensure that appropriate schooling be provided to compensate for the child's non-attendance at school, whilst removed from Australia and that if necessary I will be liable for any and all costs, direct or indirect, associated with having to compensate for any degradation in the child's progress at school, this liability extending to compensation for any such costs incurred by the father or those representing him or acting on his behalf.

I agree to ensure that the child undergo dental and health check-ups and any subsequent follow-up treatment prior to the removal of the child from Australia. At the discretion of the child's father, such follow-up may be postponed until after the return of the child.

I agree to compensate the child's father, for any lost contact time due to the removal of the child from Australia, the compensation being equal to the amount of time lost and at the father's convenience.

I agree to promoting contact between the child and the father during the removal from Australia, this at a minimum, on a weekly basis.

I agree to not inhibit the father, likewise, being allowed to remove the child from Australia for the purpose of having a holiday and or having contact with family and friends, such removal being subject to similar conditions.

I agree to the child's passport, once obtained, being retained by an independent agent body or organisation whilst the child is not participating in an agreed upon temporary removal from Australia, the agreement being between the child's parents, that agent being agreed on by both the mother and the father and that either parent can only obtain the passport with the consent of the other parent.

I agree that payment for the provision of this passport holding service be provided for from the child support monies.
D4E, Sorry I haven't checked out visa's, I thought nowadays they often aren't required for holidays.

I think I also need to add something so that I'm made aware of the itinerary.

Again comments, suggestions, corrections, advice are most welcome.

Oh, another perhaps contributing worry. I know that with some of the money I gave the ex upon separation, she brought a unit, which she after renting it out and not making any money, decided to sell (this was two years or so ago), however I'm not sure if she has sold it, but if she has, it could possibly be enough to consider this move. Is there anyway that I could discreetly ascertain whether she is still the owner? Along similar lines her new husband, according to her, could come into an inheritance some time this year (not sure when).

Why Dental and health checks? Well as far as I'm aware my son's been to the dentist once since separation and that was a bit of an emergency, as just before Christmas two and a half years ago he had a bad toothache. He had one filling and needed five others, which I told the ex about. I since joined Medibank Private and told her that he's covered, even told her the dentists in her area, even got her to agree to take him, but it hasn't happened.
I think you've covered things well Mike T.

I also think you've answered the question about trust, simply it's not there and you reactions are preservation for your relationship with your son.

Perhaps purchase of a non-refundable ticket by her may help re-assure to some part.

I know on several occasions my X has been put out because I requested written assurance acted all hurt and how dare I, funny thing is two months down the track she was trying it on and doing what she said she wouldn't.

Good forethought with the document simply put she has proved she can't be trusted so why bother.

Best of luck and good to know 'Hague' works will in the country they will be in.

  
MikeT said
Oh, another perhaps contributing worry. I know that with some of the money I gave the ex upon separation, she brought a unit, which she after renting it out and not making any money, decided to sell (this was two years or so ago), however I'm not sure if she has sold it, but if she has, it could possibly be enough to consider this move. Is there anyway that I could discreetly ascertain whether she is still the owner? Along similar lines her new husband, according to her, could come into an inheritance some time this year (not sure when).
Property ownership is a matter of public record.

I obtained property ownership information very easily in Tasmania.

I googled Registrar of Land Titles or something like that and found the relevant Govt department.

For a few dollars, around $3 I think, I got all details of the property - all transactions including the current owner and the date on which the property changed hands.



Thanks Katie, I'll have a look at what I can find out.
I'm not sure of the ethical liabilities but Real Estate agents etc use a program called RPData to access all of that information.

Maybe if you had a friend or acquaintance that could look it up for you if it didn't contravene a code of ethics?
Anyone can do a title search through their state government on any freehold land. This is public information.

This is usually done through a broker or can be done using an online broker with your credit card. It varies in cost, but you can get a PDF printout for between $4 - $10 depending on the state.

I will PM you the name of a reliable company that covers all/most of Australia.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Thanks, everyone for the info on the title search, as it turns out, the ex phoned and has agreed to signing the agreement and has also said that the trip is being financed by monies from the sale of the unit, which is to take place soon (so if I had done  the search I guess that it would have shown that the ex is still the owner) and that they intend buying a house with this and with her husbands inheritance. I guess she just needed a little time to consider things, perhaps with input from others. I'm also a lot less worried having read that recovery although a hassle would likely be undertaken, especially as the agreement clearly indicates that the agreement is for a temporary removal (by my reading of Director General, Department of Child Safety V Christodoulos (aka Petrou), this appeared to be the main issue being contested and it was not clearly defined).

I'm sure that others may benefit from the information on how to go about doing a title search.
Best of luck with it all Mike T I bet you are breathing a bit of a sigh, sometimes things we do to benefit the kids and our own reassurance can be met with anger, so glad this was not the case.

Best wishes Paul.
Best of luck MikeT, I hope everything works out for you.  Just a suggestion, in the document she signs have you thought of getting your x to provide contact details, phone numbers, addresses etc in the states just in case of emergencies.
Thanks for the best wishes IsntLifegrand, and with regard to contact/itinerary, yes I added this before the ex phoned:
Mike's proposed agreement said
I agree to provide an itinerary detailing the address where the child will sleep each night, the person in who's care the child will be that night and a contact number for the child for each night.
Although, I think I need to amend it to cater for any itinerary changes.
MikeT it is really great that you managed to sort this issue out amicably and I am glad that you are feeling reassured.

I really hope that you continue to foster this type of relationship with the mother of your child even if only for the sake of the child.

You should be commended.
Thanks Aphrodite, I've generally tried to work things out amicably and without recourse to the courts and have every expectation to do so in the future. If only all could try to take that path.

My Ex wants to take my 4 kids to the US for her sisters wedding, what do I do?

Hi Everyone,

I am in a similar position to what Mike T was back in 2008.  The only difference is, I am not planning any trip overseas myself at a later date.

Now, I don't trust my ex for one second, because she is such a liar and I wouldn't put it past her to do anything.  As with most ex wives, she has committed perjury on numerous occasions throughout the few years since separation in 2006.  Now that I am the primary carer of the 4 kids and she has to pay me child support, I am afraid she is going to try something on. 

She is still the agressor and hates the ground I walk on.  I am the only reason she still has contact with our children, because I don't want my kids growing up without their mother.  The children have all at different times expressed the need to leave their mother, but they have not been forceful enough or convincing enough to me, which means the feminist court would simply order them to continue with visitation anyway.  So, I make sure they have plenty of time with me to unload their emotional baggage and then they are happy.

There is another point to; in January next year, she is taking the 4 kids to the eastern states for a 10 day holiday.  There is not much I can do to stop that, but having a court order for custody/residency, it should not be too much of an issue to get them back from within Aus.  After all, I have already spoken to the children and they would not allow her to keep them over there.  The US is a bit different though and a long way from home too.

My question to you guys is. 

  • If I refuse to sign the passport applications, can she simply go to the feminist court and get an order that will allow her to get the passports anyway?

The wedding in the US is apparently in May next year, so the applications will need to be put in sometime in the new year I'd expect.
I am a bit freaked out over this, because the four kids are so very close to me and even though they love their mother, the younger two are scared of her and easily intimidated by her.  The kids ages in the new year will be: 18, 14, 12.5 and 11.
And I know the 18 year old will be able to do what he wants, but I am not sure he will go if he knew I feared what his mother would do.

Thanks for your help.

It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave!
MeToo57 said
If I refuse to sign the passport applications, can she simply go to the feminist court and get an order that will allow her to get the passports anyway?

I think that there is a good chance that the courts would make orders to facilitate overseas trips. However, from what I've read (not that much), they may also make some orders designed to also protect the children from non-return. Obviously if you refuse to sign the passport the other parent would have to initiate proceedings. You would then be able to suggest that you fear the mother not returning the children. It would be important that the orders allow for temporary trips. Orders may be able to include the provision of a security deposit that could be unlocked if the children are not returned.

P.S. In my case the issue became moot as happenings resulted in my son coming to live with me.

I'd suggest looking through Austlii (www.austlii.edu.au) and doing a database search ( I used overseas as the search argument, you could also try passport {overseas also comes up with applications for overseas child support matters}). I select three of the commonwealth databases namely, Family Law Court Full, Family Law Court and Federal Magistrates Court Family.

Here's some decisions that may be relevant or of interest:

Full court allows overseas trip for family contact (no suggestion of mother not returning)

Family Court allows overseas trips for father (father allowed to keep passport)

Federal Magistrates Court allows overseas trips for both parents with security of $10,000

Mother restrained from taking children overseas (for a limited period)

Mother allowed overseas travel. $25,000 deposit into trust fund

Mother permitted to travel overseas, hardly any restrictions

Both parents allowed to travel overseas and especially the mother to the Nederlands

These are from the first two pages (well first plus a few from the second) with 20 decisions per page out of the 1678 decisions found. Lots of reading.
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