When you think of children being abducted, odds are that you think of news reports about strangers luring them into vehicles and kidnapping them. While this certainly does happen, do not assume that's the only way it occurs. A lot of abductions are actually carried out by family members, specifically the parents of children after a divorce.
For instance, maybe your ex wanted full custody of the kids, hoping you would never see them again. Your ex has family overseas. When you got joint custody, the first thing you worried about was that your ex would load the kids onto a plane, fly to another country and never come back. Would they really do that just to spite you? What can you do to prevent it?
There are a few steps you can take. First and foremost, be sure that the court order is very clear on what type of travel is permitted. Express your concerns and fight for a custody arrangement that gives you some protection.
Another thing to consider is asking the court to control legal travel documents. For instance, they could order that your ex cannot get passports for the kids without your consent. This way, you don't have to worry about them making international travel plans behind your back.
Finally, look for red flags and be ready to act at the first sign that your ex is going to violate the court order. For instance, if they sell their house and quit their job suddenly, it could mean that they're ready to leave the United States and they're getting ready to try it -- no matter what that court order says.
Parental abductions are very unfortunate and difficult, but they do happen. You must know what legal options you have both to prevent it and to take action if necessary.