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Legal Question about minors/the family

from TaylorN - Thursday, April 03, 2008
accessed 722 times

I have a legal question. I'm an author researching for a book and have question about law interacting with the family and abductions

I have a legal question:

Here is the scenario: A father who used to belong to a cult when he was younger wants to bring his 15-year-old son back to the cult. The father, since telling his son that he wants to move back to the cult, hasbecome physically abusive as an attempt to control his son while they wait to transfer back into the community. If the son goes to the police, is there anything they can do? At what point can the police intervene to rescue the son? They are in Florida but the father plans to send the boy out of country to get better instruction on the cults values (its a labor/indoctrination camp in Japan)

This is fictional, but what would the factual legal ramifications be?

(Im an author)

*** EDIT: The boy in question only has his father. He has no other relatives (That aren't IN the cult.) His mother died when he was an infant.

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from anovagrrl
Monday, April 07, 2008 - 09:53


The youth and/or his friends can contact the Florida Department of Children and Families and file a report. Calling the police may or may not result in a referral to the local child welfare agency for an investigation; however, a direct referral on a complaint to Child Welfare should result in an investigation.

Several of things must be stated clearly on the phone call: 1) There is physical abuse taking place, 2) there is parental invilvement with a notorious child-abusing religious organization, 3) the youth's right to freedom of religion and freedom of association are at risk, and 4) the youth is at risk of educational neglect should he be relocated to Japan.

Several scenarios could play out: 1) The father decides to stay put until his son turns 18 because of the investigation; 2) the father turns the son over to the custody of the state, in which case 2b) the son enters a foster home or a group home, and 2c) the youth begins working on an emancipation plan.

Here's the website for phone numbers:

(reply to this comment)

from rainy
Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 16:43

I don't know about the States, but 15 year olds here are allowed to leave home. They can divorce their parents and say they're estranged. Also, if there is violence happening, the parent no longer has any legal claim to their child.
(reply to this comment)
from Big Sister
Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 13:59

A parent cannot take or send a child out of the US without the signed permission of both parents, whether the parents are married or not.
I am in California and my husband and I have had to do this for our children when they travel abroad. However, I am not sure if this is a federal law or just for California.
(reply to this comment)
From Tester
Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 09:37

Again, I have NEVER had to do that. I have taken my kid abroad a few times even after my divorce and never once have I had to do this. (reply to this comment
From cheeks
Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:26

Once the child has a passport I don't believe you have to get consent to take them out of the country, you do however have to get the parental consent to get the passport.(reply to this comment
From cheeks
Saturday, April 05, 2008, 18:57

It is a federal law. You cannot get a passport for a child without the consent of both parents.(reply to this comment
From Tester
Monday, April 07, 2008, 14:03

Never had to do that when we got passport for our kid. (reply to this comment
From cheeks
Tuesday, April 08, 2008, 16:29

How long ago was that?(reply to this comment
From Shaz
Sunday, April 06, 2008, 21:39

I'm pretty sure that rule only applies to kids under 14 after that only one parent has to consent.(reply to this comment
From Big Sister
Sunday, April 06, 2008, 21:52

The US Dept of State web site says that minors under the age of 16 must have both parents sign. For ages 16 and 17 it says "For security reasons, parental consent may be requested."(reply to this comment
From Sharon
Wednesday, April 09, 2008, 10:55

Child Passport Information
Need a child's passport? Get ready to have your patience tested.
Acquiring or renewing a child's passport is no walk in the park. Over the past few years, new requirements have been added in an effort to combat child abduction and trafficking. The new requirements mean more work for parents to acquire passports for their children. While guaranteeing the safety of children may be a worthy objective, it still means more work. To make it through the process without a hitch, start early and pay attention to details.
The first thing you need to know is that any child under age 18 and both parents or legal guardians need to appear in person to apply. What do you do when a parent or legal guardian cannot appear? You must provide either written permission from the absent parent or guardian or some other documented explanation, such as proof of sole custody of the child, an adoption decree or the death certificate of a deceased parent. You can either provide you own letter or fill in the sample form letter available on the State Department Web site. Be sure to get the letter notarized.
Is your child under age 16? If so, you need to provide both proof of citizenship and proof of relationship.
Proof of citizenship can be established with a certified birth certificate. You can acquire this at the registrar's office of the state where your child was born. Be sure to get the "long form".
Other documents that serve to prove citizenship are a previous fully valid U.S. passport, a Report of Birth Abroad, a Certification of Birth Abroad or a Certificate of Citizenship or Naturalization.
While you can provide a previous U.S. passport as proof of citizenship, it is not accepted as proof of relationship. To prove the child's relationship to the applying partent(s) or guardian(s), you must submit one of the following.

Certified U.S. birth certificate (with parents' names); or
Certified Foreign Birth Certificate (with parents' names and translation, if necessary); or
Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) (with parents' names); or
Certification of Birth Abroad ( Form DS-1350) (with parents' names); or
Adoption Decree ( with adopting parents' names); or
Court Order Establishing Custody; or
Court Order Establishing Guardianship.
You also need to take with you photo ID such as your own passport or drivers license, Passport Application Form DS-11 filled out but not signed, two passport photos of each child and payment.
You will have at least three fees - the Passport Application Fee, the Execution Fee and the Security surcharge.
For children age 16 or older, the passport fee is $75 and the execution fee is $25. The total is $100.
For children under age 16, the passport fee is $60 and the execution fee is $25. The total is $85.
An expediting fee of $60 must also be paid to the U.S. Department of State if you want to obtain your child's passport within 2 weeks.
NOTE: Both parents must appear together and sign or one parent appears, signs and submits second parent's notarized Statement of Consent, Form DS-3053.

(reply to this comment

From Ne Oublie
Saturday, April 05, 2008, 14:38

That sounds like a very unfeasible law to enforce.(reply to this comment
From sar
Sunday, April 06, 2008, 12:55

Are you suggesting that there are varying degrees of unfeasibility?(reply to this comment
From rainy
Saturday, April 05, 2008, 16:42

It is not infeasible, it is also the law here in Australia. Even if the child has never met the other parent, you have to track that parent down and get permission before taking the child out of the country. You cannot get a passport for the child without doing this.(reply to this comment
from steam
Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 11:02

control. He can also go directly to DSS and it again depends entirely on the agent, but my guess is that they would immediately take whatever steps are needed to put a hold on the dads plans until they look into the situation further. Courts are not likely to take a sympathetic view to the dad especialy if the cult is not powerful in the are (scientology would be) and the cult is not throwing resources behind the dad.
(reply to this comment)
From steam
Saturday, April 05, 2008, 11:03

Well that posted wierd (the beginning of the comment is below the end)(reply to this comment
from steam
Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 11:00

The police are a law unto themselves. If the kid got a symapthetic one they can do a lot. They can get DSS involved and take
(reply to this comment)

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