In January, my husband and I went to renew one of our children’s passports.
The process was an inconvenience to say the least. We had to gather documents proving that we were the parents of our child and we had to coordinate our schedules so that we could take our child to the post office together.
Going through that process reminded me that, for many divorced parents, getting a passport for their child is more than a simple inconvenience, it’s an ordeal.
In some high-conflict parental relationships, one or both parties may refuse to behave in a reasonable manner. For example, one parent may refuse to give the other parent the information he or she needs to complete the passport application. The parent may refuse to accompany the other parent to the post office or passport office to finalize the last steps in getting a passport.
Moreover, even if the child has a passport, the parent in possession of the passport may decide not to turn over the passport to the other parent upon request.
To avoid the unpleasantness of trying to coax a former spouse to cooperate with you to get a passport for your child, make sure that prior to the finalization of the divorce, the court issues an order specifying that both parties must cooperate fully in obtaining or renewing a child’s passport.
The order should also specify which parent will have physical possession of the passport.
The parent with physical possession of the passport should be ordered to insure that the child always has a valid passport and shall provide the other parent a copy of the child’s passport each time it is renewed.
Finally if the other parent wants to travel with the child, then he or she shall receive the passport at least three weeks prior to travel.You may save yourself many hours of unpleasant interactions with your former spouse by taking the time to ensure that your custody agreement has a passport provision.