The Bronx Family Court issued an unreported custody disposition on August 6, 2021 related to three minor children who were residing with their mother in a confidential domestic violence shelter in New York. The children’s father was accused of significant domestic violence, including having left the mother and the oldest child (before the two younger children were born) in his native Jordan with his family for 7 years while he moved to Ohio. The mother claimed that during this time in Jordan, the father did not grant her permission to leave Jordan or secure a job, and his family controlled all of her movement, as well as her access to food and resources. The father testified that the mother worked while in Jordan, had access to money, and traveled to nearby countries throughout her time there. Of note: the mother is a Dominican Republic citizen, and not a U.S. or Jordanian national.
In this custody matter, the mother expressed a fear that if the father had unsupervised access to any of the three children, he would abscond to Jordan, as he still held the children’s travel and legal documents, and, based on “the law in Jordan,” she felt she had no rights to seek their return, particularly in that she is not Muslim.
During the father’s testimony, he admitted he had a Jordanian passport, but denied having a “family registration book” from Jordan, saying he was not familiar with such a registration book. He also denied adding the children to his passport, but admitted that the children are automatically Jordanian citizens through him. The father also testified that he could not travel to Jordan because there are restrictions against people who are against the king, and because, as he said, “there’s no freedom there.” He said he did not trust the Jordanian system, and accused the mother of taking his passport. He claimed to own several businesses in Ohio, but none outside of the United States.
Among other positions, the lawyer for the two youngest children argued the mother should enroll the children in the U.S. Department of State’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP).
The Bronx Family Court sua sponte granted an order of protection for all three children until the youngest attains the age of 18. The court granted the mother sole legal and physical custody. The oldest child, almost 18 years of age, is not required to see her father. The youngest children were granted virtual supervised access with their father. The mother was prohibited from relocating the children out of NY pending any appeal, and the court required the mother to enroll the children in the U.S. Department of State’s CPIAP.
You can learn more about CPIAP by visiting the U.S. Department of State’s website. Many confuse this program with flagging a child’s U.S. passport. This program, in fact, is only an alert to the enrolling parent if anyone applies for a U.S. passport for this child. It will not prohibit the child’s travel or impact the child’s existing passports. It essentially gives the enrolling parent time to then petition a court for other child abduction prevention measures. This program does not impact passports or provide alerts if someone applies for a foreign (non-U.S.) passport for a child. A parent does not need a court’s permission to enroll a child. Visit our Websites Page for more useful sites and resources.