If any parents in the Seattle area have ever had to deal with the heartbreaking turmoil of a custody battle, they can certainly empathize with a woman from Kansas seeking assistance from the U.S. government to get her children back. Her former husband took her three children to the Gaza Strip in the Middle East to live indefinitely.
Under the couple's divorce decree, the children lived with their father but had regular visitation with their mother. In addition, the father was allowed to take the children overseas as long as he had their mother's permission. However, the Palestinian man fooled his ex-wife into signing their passport applications to relocate in Gaza permanently. Originally he said he was bringing the children just for his sister's wedding and they were supposed to return to the U.S. last March.
The father insists his ex-wife knew he was taking the children there to live forever, but she has provided evidence that he booked return flights to the U.S. The mother is extremely concerned for her children's safety in that country's current political climate. The children speak to their mother regularly on the phone and are enrolled in an American school.
When fighting international child custody battles, it's essential that U.S. authorities and attorneys have the cooperation of international treaties. In Washington State, if you plan to relocate with your child you must provide a legal notice to the other parent at least 30 days in advance. If you do not, you may face court sanctions and contempt. Contempt leads to jail and fines.
If you are given notice that your former spouse intends to move from the state with your children, you must file a formal, written legal objection within 30 days explaining how relocating the child will negatively affect them. A letter to your former spouse or a judge will not meet the relocation objection requirements.
Source: seattlepi.com, "US claims father illegally moved kids to Gaza," Roxana Hegeman, May 2, 2012