How to Get a Court Order For Child Passport?

Does your child need a passport but you’re short of a court order to complete the application? Are you wondering how to get a court order for a child passport? 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about court orders and arranging passports for a child. Give us a few short minutes and you will emerge ready for the passport application.

A child, a passport book and a title: “How To Get a Court Order For a Child Passport?”

Court order permitting a child passport explained

It would be best to start from the beginning and explain that an application for a child’s passport needs approval from their parents or guardians. Both approvals are required for the process to go through as planned.

Sometimes, however, the other parent cannot be present at the meeting in person for various reasons, which then adds additional paperwork in the form of a potential court order to the list of documents and other identity items one should bring, such as birth or naturalization certificates . 

On other occasions, the second parent may even refuse to give consent, which might call for a court order as well if they stand their ground despite the other guardian’s insistence. Bear that in mind as it might be a key piece of information in regard to your minor child passport application.

So, to simplify, a court order is a document provided by the court of law that confirms you are allowed to apply for a child’s passport on your own as a legal guardian, without the other parent. The document itself is also known by its other name, full legal custody.

When is the court order needed?

The example that we gave when one parent either refuses to give approval for the passport application or is just not there, can, in fact, mean very different things.

The circumstances surrounding a situation like that can differ quite a lot and the U.S. law recognizes a wide variety of instances where a court order will be a necessary item for the child’s passport issuance.

  • when one parent has a restraining order against another
  • the other parent is in prison
  • a parent has sole custody of the child

These situations may require form DS-5525 instead.

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How to request a court order for a passport of a child?

The first thing you need to know when you’re looking to acquire a court order for your child’s passport is that the process may turn out to be a lengthy affair so you should be prepared to play the waiting game. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the court order issuance the process of a child’s passport application can take even longer than half a year.

What’s more, you may consider hiring a lawyer to sort everything out for you unless you wish to represent yourself and feel comfortable doing so. You most certainly can file every piece of documentation yourself and take care of the court order and the child’s passport on your own, but be aware that the matter will need to be settled in court so you must appeal for such a case.

However, at least consulting a lawyer might be worth your time should you wish to be ready for everything the court of law might or the other parent might throw at you.

The process of acquiring a court order will include court appearances during which it will be decided if the parent that refuses to give approval for the child’s passport is in the right or not. 

What can you do to obtain a court order permitting a child passport?

When appearing in front of a court of law to get a court order specifically permitting the applying parent to apply for the child’s passport you need to provide compelling argumentation as to why the issuance of the child’s passport is an affair that should be completed.

In this instance, there are a few ways of approaching the matter and a few angles you can explore to ensure you can take care of the minor’s travel document at the passport agency.

The circumstances listed below are generally believed to be quite sufficient and likely to result in the issuance of the court order even if you don’t have sole custody of the child.

  • Look to establish emergency reasons that relate to the child’s health or general welfare that might call for a passport book to be issued.
  • Present your case in such a way that the child’s health may be put in jeopardy if the passport cannot be issued.
  • Explain that due to the issues surrounding the child’s passport situation, they may end up being separated from their traveling party in the near future.
  • Present or submit evidence of specific family circumstances in which the child’s family effectively prevents both parents from giving the approval to start passport proceedings.

Court orders and child’s passport: documentation

Before attempting to apply for a court order for a child passport, you should consider the circumstances surrounding the relationship between you and your partner. It would be wise to check, for example, the divorce decree, if it exists to begin with, to find any record that explores the matter of sole legal custody.

If you plan to file a divorce but have not yet, be sure to mention that bit of information when presenting your case in the beginning. To successfully apply for a court order for a child passport, you want to give every crucial piece of information and be as cooperative with the court of law as you can.

Additionally, you should find some time and locate the child’s birth certificate as it might prove to be the key component in acquiring sole custody and thus allowing you to complete the child’s passport application as an only parent.

What you’re looking for in the birth certificate is information on who exactly is listed as the child’s parent or parents.

If you are the only parent confirmed in the child’s birth certificate then you won’t be needing a court order to apply for a minor’s passport and get the passport processing rolling.

How do you get a court order for a child’s passport? – Summary

In short, you need to know that a court order specifically permitting the applying parent to apply for the child’s passport will in most cases involve appearing in court. You will need to present your case and explain why the child needs the passport in what might turn out to be a lengthy affair that might go on for half a year or even longer.

You should remember to check the documentation at your disposal since a divorce decree, for example, may hold all the answers you require.

How to get a court order for a child passport – FAQ

How to get a court order for a minor child passport in Florida?

Getting a court order for a minor child passport in Florida will require legal proceedings in which you will appear in front of the court of law and present your case as to why the court order needs to be issued to complete a child’s passport application.

How to get a court order for a child passport while waiting for adoption?

In such a situation, apart from appearing in front of the court of law and asking for sole legal custody of the child, you will need to present a certified copy of the Adoption Petition confirming you as the minor’s future legal guardian.

How can you get a passport for a child with one parent in jail?

Even incarcerated parents of a child are required to give permission for the child to obtain a passport with only one parent present at the appointment. The parent in jail should complete Form DS-3053 and have it notarized. The moment the document is signed and notarized is when you can present it at the passport acceptance facility along with all the rest items you need to bring.

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