Travel with passport and map

The world community is becoming more mobile by the day, with people moving
to different countries for work or personal reasons. Relocating out of
your home country is an exciting time, but often means leaving behind
friends and family. It is quite common for parents to want to take their
children back to their home country to visit these friends and family
and to enjoy their home culture. When there is a dispute over child custody,
however, taking a child out of the country, even just for a visit, becomes
more complicated.

United States law requires that both parents sign the application for a
child to obtain a passport for a child under the age of 16. If a child
is over the age of 16, parents must both sign the application, and in
addition, provide proof that they are that child’s parents or legal
guardians. However, if you provide proof that you are the child’s
sole custodian or have the agreement of the other parent in obtaining
the passport, it is not necessary for both parents to sign the passport
application. Keep in mind that this is simply the rule for the United
States in obtaining a passport: other countries may have different requirements
for a child travelling with only one parent.

The issues become significantly more complicated and difficult if one parent
refuses to sign the application for the passport or to sign a document
indicating his or her consent to allow the other parent to obtain one
for the child. If that is the situation, then the parent seeking to obtain
a passport may go to the court and ask for the court’s assistance.
In one case, though, a mother was unsuccessful in her attempt, as she
made her request too broad. In
, the mother sought to have a custody order modified to provide that she
had sole legal custody of the couple’s children. She asked for sole
legal custody, as she could then obtain a passport for the children without
the father’s consent. The court ultimately denied her request, however,
because she did not limit her request to only getting a passport for the
children, but for total sole custody. Had she requested only to be permitted
to obtain the passport without the father’s assistance, the result
may have been different.

the challenges inherent in having international family and travel needs.
Contact us today at (732) 529-6937, and we can discuss your children and
international travel

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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