There are specific rules regarding the passport for children of divorced parents. For a minor that is under the age of sixteen years old, both parents are required to give consent in order to issue or renew a passport for that child. An application for a passport for a child under 16 must be submitted in person, with the child. Both parents must also appear in person and provide consent to the passport issuance. If one parent cannot appear in person, then the missing parent can sign a form, get it notarized and submit it with the application.
If only one parent has sole legal custody, and therefore the ability to make passport decisions on their own, evidence of that sole legal authority over the child must be submitted with the application if the other parent doesn’t provide consent. (This could be the court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent.)
If both parents have shared legal custody of the child, then both must consent to the issuance or renewal of a minor child. If one parent is unable to get in contact with the other parent to obtain the consent, it may be necessary to go back into court and get an order stating that consent of the other parent is not required to issue the passport. This would then be attached to the application as mentioned above. Note that an agreement to not require consent of both parents to take a child out of the country is not the same as providing consent to issue a passport.
When one parent does not consent to the issuance of a passport, the courts can step in to resolve the disagreement. The state court will not be able to actually issue or revoke a passport, but it can order that consent from both parties is not required.
Sometimes the issue isn’t getting the passport issued, it’s getting the actual passport from the other parent in order to travel. Many parents who often travel internationally include provisions in their custody agreements that state how and when the actual passport will be transferred back and forth between the parents. For example, the travelling parent must notify the other parent of vacation plans and flights at least thirty days prior to a trip, and the parent with the passport must hand over the passport within seven days of this notice, or within seven days of the scheduled trip. The court can also agree who or where the passport will be held in between travels, or order that the passport be given to the travelling parent or else hold that parent in contempt.
If you frequently travel internationally with your children, or have an upcoming trip that requires a passport, and are concerned about access to your child’s passport, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with an attorney at Cage & Miles, LLP today.