Common questions regarding obtaining and handling a passport for your child.
Q: Does my child need a passport to travel out of the country?
A: Yes, every minor child must have a passport in order to travel outside of the country. Obviously, you the parent, will also need one as well.
Q: Does my ex-spouse have to consent to me getting a passport for my child?
A: Yes, in general both parents need to be present at the passport office in order for the child to receive a passport. If one parent cannot be present, then that parent must fill out a notarized consent form. (See IRS Form DS-3053). It’s worth noting that different rules apply to children who are 16 or 17 years old and may only require that one parent be present to request the passport for children that age.
Q: What if I cannot find the Father or do not know who he is?
A: If one parent cannot be located, then you might have to seek a court order that grants you the ability to obtain a passport alone, without that other parent’s consent. This issue can become very complicated and the facts of your specific case will determine what you will be able to do and whether a court order will be necessary to obtain a passport. It’s especially important that you contact a family law attorney if you cannot find the other parent.
Q: I am afraid my ex-spouse will leave the country with my child, what should I do?
A: Unfortunately, this can become a real fear for some parents. If you suspect your ex-spouse is going to abscond with the child and leave the country, you can flag the child’s name and passport. The U.S. State Department maintains a database of children’s names and will notify you if the other parent has applied for a passport for the children. It is my recommendation that you list your children’s names with the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CIPAP). If your child already has a passport and you suspect the other parent is planning to leave the country with the child without your consent, then it is imperative that you contact a family law attorney right away. Time can be very limited in these situations and your window to effectively prevent removal can be very small.
Q: If I am behind on my child support, can I get a passport?
A: If you are behind on child support in the amount of $2,500 or more, they will not issue you a passport until you pay your past due amount. The state of Florida will send a list of individuals who are behind in child support to the State Department and the State Department will bar you from getting a passport if your name is on the list.
If you have questions about your passport or obtaining a passport for a minor child after divorce or require legal assistance in other areas of Family Law you may always contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected].