Passport Issues in Palm Beach Child Custody Cases
Many parents want to travel with their children. Whether it is a local staycation or traveling to a foreign country to visit long lost family, parents usually want the freedom to travel with their children. A passport may be required for your children to enter and exit the United States, but the other parent may be unreasonably opposed to permitting the children to leave the country.
United States Department of State is responsible for issuing passports. In order to apply for a minor’s passport, both parents are required to be present with the child to provide consent and authorize the passport issuance to the minor, unless there is a court order authorizing a passport to be issued (such as a Parenting Plan or Child Custody Determination). In situations where one parent is unable to appear with the child and the other parent, the non-appearing parent can consent by executing under oath an authorization for the minor’s passport. U.S. Department of State form DS-3053 “Statement of Consent” can be found on the U.S. Department of State Passport website.
Withholding Passport Consent
In some circumstances, a parent may refuse to consent to the child’s passport application or their consent may be unattainable. The Department of State provides an application process whereby one parent can apply for the child’s passport along with a statement of exigent or special family circumstances for the Department of State to consider whether to approve the passport application without both parents consent. Form DS-5525 “Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstance” can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
The situations in which the State Department will approve a “Special Family Circumstance” application will vary.
Passports and Parenting Plans
Many parenting plans ordered by Florida Courts include provisions regarding the child’s passport. In the event an issuance of a passport is silent in the custody decree and a parent is unable to obtain consent from the other parent or the passport application is denied by the Department of State, recourse may need to be sought through the Court. If the location of the other parent is known, then action to compel their execution of the passport application might be appropriate depending on the circumstances. If the other parent’s whereabouts is unknown, a court order authorizing the issuance of a passport or international travel may be required if the “Special Family Circumstances” application is denied.
If one parent is violating a court ordered parenting plan, a motion for contempt may be appropriate. Such an action wholly depends on the specific terms of the parenting plan that is ordered by the Court in each individual case. The Law Office of Matthew D. Martin handles family law matters involving passport issues in Palm Beach child custody cases, as well as the enforcement of parenting plans for passport issues.
The Two-Party Consent rule required by the U.S. Department of State is to protect children from being improperly removed from the United States. Even though this rule can be the source of frustration for some parents who wish to travel appropriately, it is required to protect children from being abducted.
The Law Office of Matthew D. Martin practices exclusively in the area of family and matrimonial law. Our experience includes handling matter relating to the application and issuance of passports for minor children. Our law firm offers free consultation for family law matters, including passport issues in Palm Beach child custody cases. Please contact us at (561) 406-8555 should you have any questions or wish to schedule a consultation.