The court (Obligee), through proper pleadings, will require a parent (Principal) to post a Child Custody Bond to be issued by a bonding company (Surety) during or after divorce or paternity proceedings when there is an apparent risk that a child custody decree or parenting plan terms will be violated.
Why do you need a Massachusetts Child Custody Bond?
Massachusetts laws grant family and probate courts the authority to post security in most child custody cases. Typically, family court judges require protection in the form of a surety bond whenever there is considerable evidence that one party has violated a custody decree by taking off with the child to another location/jurisdiction.
When it comes to international custody situations, a Child Custody Bond ensures that the child will be returned from a parent who has decided to visit or relocate to a foreign country during the period of the custody decree.
For visitations within the United States, the bond provides assurance the return of the child escorted by a parent on a short-term or long-term trip to a jurisdiction other than the usual residence.
How does a Child Custody Bond work?
The judge determines the bond amount or the type of collateral that the parent is required to pay over to the court. Once a parent violates a child custody decree and parenting plan terms, the money is forfeited.
This type of court bond works where potential risks of financial losses will encourage the parent to conform and stick to the conditions of the child custody decree.
When to request for a Child Custody Bond?
If you find yourself questioning the motives and presuming that the co-parent will violate a custody order, you can request to the courts that they require the non-custodial parent to post a Child Custody Bond, therefore reducing the risk for worries and delays.
The court may evaluate the following circumstances in requiring the need for a Child Custody Bond.
- Potential risks or reasonable evidence to support claims of a child's non-return to the expected residence after an international or domestic trip
- Assurance of the child's welfare
- Guaranteeing compliance with the terms of custody or parenting plan order, where there is a history of or possibility of future violations
Here are scenarios where you may request this type of bond:
Short- or long-term domestic trips
You may request for the bond if you feel that your ex-partner may not return your children from vacation.
If your ex-partner chooses to take an international trip with your children to a foreign country, you can ask for a bond to ensure that he or she returns the children as agreed.
Or if you decide to travel to another foreign country and you need to leave your children with your ex-partner (non-custodial), you can also request that he or she post a bond that when you return, your children will also be returned to you.
If your ex-partner is relocating, you can request for him or her to secure a bond to guarantee that he or she will adhere to custody or divorce decree and will not flee with your child.
How much does a Child Custody Bond cost?
Once you have requested the bond, the family court judge that is hearing the custody case will be determining the amount. The bond amount is often calculated and based on the potential risks covering the following circumstances:
- Financial capacity of the parent posting the bond
- Amount substantial enough to discourage abduction, which is sufficient to fund expenses for the legal representation, search, and court fees in case of an abduction or violation of custody terms and parenting plan decrees
- Guarantee compliance with the custody orders within the United States or trips to a foreign country.
Do I need collateral to obtain a Child Custody Bond?
Yes, You need 100% collateral for these bonds. From our standpoint, these bonds are very risky because the parent can simply leave the jurisdiction with the child. Usually, collateral takes the form of:
- Cash or other liquid assets - These funds are deposited into our collateral account.
- Irrevocable Letter of Credit from a Bank - In essence, the bank is vouching for your financial stability.
How long does a Child Custody Bond remain in effect?
A Child Custody Bond may remain valid for one, two or as many years as the court believes necessary. The bond amount percentage, which is the annual premium cost, is based on an annual sliding scale fee (variable amount of the bond holder's ability to pay) over the duration of the bond.
How do I get a Child Custody Bond?
If you are applying or looking to have your ex-partner apply for a Child Custody Bond, reach out to a professional, legal representative to discuss your situation.
Then, seek a reputable Surety Bond Company who can write this type of court bond and their coverage.
To qualify for a Child Custody Bond, a surety underwriter will include a review of the following:
- Whether visitation or travel is domestic or international
- Court documents requiring the bond to consider the potential risks
- Financial competency of the applicant (ability to pay bond premiums and provide suitable collaterals)
- Divorce and child custody arrangements between the two parties
- Additional indemnitors to co-sign on the obligation (who agrees to assume the obligation that is typically placed on the Surety)
For parents concerned about the welfare of their children, this type of bond serves as a preventative measure - where any person who has purchased this bond and failed to perform the obligation will be held financially responsible.
Therefore, the child custody surety bond should be written only by licensed and professionally-designated surety underwriters.
Contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation to discuss measures to ensure the safety of your children.