Getting a passport for your child should be an easy thing to do, unless there is a parent who is refusing to sign a consent for obtaining the same. When you apply for a passport, the child's birth certificate is required to be attached to that application which shows who the legal parents are of that child. Keep reading to learn about how to get a passport for a minor as an unmarried parent, what happens when the father cannot be located to sign the petition and what to do if consent is refused.
How to get a passport for my minor as an unmarried mother?
Mothers need the consent of the biological father when his name is on the child's birth certificate. Many times, the biological father will not give consent for various reasons and yet refuses to get his paternity established through the courts so that he has decision-making rights and shared parental responsibility of the child.
When this happens, a specialized verified petition is required to be filed with the court and served upon the biological father. This document is based upon the natural guardian statute in the State of Florida.
A verified petition means that the mother has to swear before a Notary Public that the information contained within it is true and that petition has to be formally served upon the biological father.
What happens when the father cannot be located?
What complicates this type of scenario is when the biological father cannot be located in order to serve him with the petition. When that happens, a due diligent search to locate him is required. There are many options to accomplishing this search.
If he still cannot be located in order to serve the petition on him, the next step is to publish the action in a local business newspaper for 30 days. At the end of that 30-day period, a hearing can be scheduled before the judge who will make a decision about granting a Final Judgment which allows the mother to obtain a passport without the consent of the biological father.
If the parents were never married and the father's name is not on the birth certificate, the process is much easier, but you still need a Final Judgment showing that you are the sole custodial parent and have the right to get a passport without consent of a father.
What to do if consent is refused by the other parent?
Sometimes consent is refused by one parent or the other, even when paternity was established, or the parties were divorced and both parents have shared parental responsibility and decision-making rights for the child. If the parenting plan that has been approved by the court did not address obtaining a passport for a minor child or travel outside of the country with the child, then a motion can be filed within that divorce or paternity action requesting that the court grant permission to the petitioning parent to get a passport for the child without consent of the other parent. The non-consenting parent would be served with that motion and a hearing would then be scheduled with the judge so each party can address their issues in open court so that the judge can render a decision. If the parenting plan did address this subject and one of the parents is refusing to consent, then a motion for contempt could be filed and hearing heard on the same.
Sometimes this can be a more complicated endeavor than is truly necessary, but our attorneys have become experts on how to get their clients the relief they need and deserve. If you are planning a trip outside of the country, make sure you give yourself enough time to obtain any order you might need to take with you to the Passport Office. For more information, call our office at 954-866-2920 or fill in a form for a free consultation.