How do I enforce the custody order if the other parent takes our child to another country?
When a child who is a United States citizen is illegally kept outside of this country, the United States State Department's Office of Children's Issues will work with the local U.S. embassy and the other country's government to assist the child and the lawful custodial parent. However, because child custody disputes are private legal disputes between the two parents, the State Department has no jurisdiction to force the other parent to obey a court order.

If the parents cannot reach an agreement, this kind of child custody dispute often must be resolved by judicial proceedings in the country where the child and the other parent are living. The State Department will help the lawful custodial parent file the appropriate documents with the foreign authorities. It also will monitor and report on the foreign judicial or administrative proceedings.

A parent may contact the Office of Children's Issues at the United States Department of State at:
US Department of State
Office of Children's Issues
2201C Street, North West
Washington, DC 20520-2818
Phone: 1-888-407-4747
Fax: 202-736-9080
Office of Children's Issues Website

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1. Can a custody order be changed if both parents agree?
2. Do I need an attorney to file a motion to change custody?
3. Can the Friend of the Court assist parties in reaching an agreement regarding custody?
4. If a motion for custody has been filed, and the parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, what will the Friend of the Court do?
5. May I receive a copy of the Friend of the Court's custody report and recommendation?
6. Is there a cost for the custody investigation?
7. What happens if I have custody according to the court's order, but the other parent does not return the child to me as required by the order?
8. How do I enforce the custody order if the other parent takes our child to another country?
9. Is the Friend of the Court allowed to investigate child abuse or neglect?
10. May my child enroll in my local school, even though the child lives in another school district with the other parent most of the time?