As a Dallas divorce and child custody lawyer at The Blacknall Firm, I often see clients run into issues when it comes to summer travel overseas with their children. One common issue that unmarried parents may encounter is the need for assistance from the custodial parent in order to obtain a passport for their child. If you have tried to communicate with the other parent and your efforts have failed, there are steps you can take through the court to remedy the situation. In this blog post, I will outline the two-parent consent requirement for obtaining a passport for a child under age 16, and provide guidance on what to do if you already have a court order or if you do not have a court order in place.
The Two-Parent Consent Requirement
According to the Department of State, “All children under age 16 must apply for a passport in person with two parents or guardians using Form DS-11.” This can be a hurdle if you are the non-custodial parent and the custodial parent is uncooperative. However, if both parents consent to the process, it is typically straightforward.
If You Have a Court Order
If you already have a court order in place that gives you the right to request your child’s passport from the custodial parent, make sure to follow all the instructions in the order. It is important to document that you followed the instructions and gave the proper notice. If you have done everything correctly and the custodial parent still refuses to comply with your request, you can hire an attorney to file an enforcement action on your behalf. If you are successful in your enforcement action, not only will you obtain your child’s passport, but there is a high likelihood that the custodial parent will be ordered to reimburse you for your attorney’s fees.
If You Do Not Have a Court Order
If you do not have a court order in place, you should consider hiring an attorney to obtain a court order. This will give you the legal right to file an enforcement action if the custodial parent refuses to give you your child’s passport in the future. It is time-consuming and costly to go to court, but in the long run, it is worth it to be able to make lasting memories with your child during summer vacations.
Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to spend time with your child because of an uncooperative custodial parent. If you are an unmarried parent facing issues with obtaining a passport for your child, seek the guidance of a qualified attorney to help you navigate the process and protect your rights.