dad wants parenting time if kids go overseas

            Posted on June 26, 2016 

Dad wants parenting time if kids go overseas

Q. My wife wants take our children from Massachusetts to Holland, where she’s from.

If I agree, how can I best enforce my parenting time for access and take them from Holland during school vacations, etc.?

A. I infer from your question that you’re worried, once your children are in Holland, your Wife will frustrate or deny your rights of access. If so, ask your divorce lawyer if there is a real advantage to your wife’s move. If yes, does your lawyer believe she’d win a “contested removal” case? If yes, then agree to removal only if you get protection for the rights of you and your children.

That agreement must praise you as a significant caretaker. Include every activity you engaged in with your children from going to their health care providers, going to their activities, coaching their teams, and taking them to a place of worship. The last sentence should say that, because you believe it’s in the children’s best interests to spend quality time with both parents, this agreement shall be interpreted to assure such access.

If need be, there should be a reduction or elimination of alimony, child support, or both. You’ll need that money to pay your expenses to see the children in Holland and to pay their air fares when they come here for their winter and summer vacations.

Next, provide that you and your wife agree that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child shall be enforced between the two of you to assure your respective rights of access to your children. The UNCRC protects the rights of children, including their right to maintain relationships with both parents if their parents separate.

Interestingly, the United States helped to write UNCRC, get it passed by the United Nations and signed it. But, since October 2, 2015 - when Somalia ratified the UNCRC - the U.S. remains the only country not to ratify UNCRC. That’s because many U.S. Senators believe some UNCRC terms violate the Constitution.

Your agreement should also provide that the October 1996 Hague Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in Respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children shall be fully applied to any case that may be filed, no matter where filed.

Most importantly, you two must file what international family law lawyers call a “mirror image” or “back-to-back” case. You’ll jointly request your agreement be incorporated into a Judgment issued by a court in Holland. If the mirror-image Judgment is not issued in Holland - then your children must remain in Massachusetts.

If she’s on the up and up, she’ll sign. If she flunks this litmus test, now’s the time and place to fight removal. That she didn’t agree should count against her! There’s an old Jewish saying: “Hope for miracles but don’t rely on one”.