If you and your spouse are divorcing or there is a current custody dispute, one thing to address is if your children have passports. If either you or the other parent is concerned that your child could be taken across the border or abroad without the other person’s approval, then it is a good idea to have a long talk about who can seek passports, what to do with your children’s current passports and when it is acceptable for them to go abroad.
Consider enrolling your children’s passports into the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program
The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program is a program that lets the Department of State inform you if your child has a passport application in process. This alert will reach you before the passport is issued, so you can potentially prevent the other parent from receiving those passports at all.
This is one of the only steps you can take to prevent your children from having passports since the state cannot track the exits of U.S. citizens who are leaving the United States. However, an alert may be issued if you believe that your child has already been abducted. This can only happen if the airline corporate security officer is notified, so you will need to know the expected airport of departure and alert the authorities immediately.
If children are involved in a custody dispute, it is usually better for them not to have passports if parental abductions are a risk. Your attorney can talk to you more about your options if you’re concerned.