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Children's Passport Issues After a New Jersey Divorce

When parents are divorced, they may find that traveling internationally with their children can be problematic, particularly if a child does not have a passport and the other parent is not on board. One parent may be concerned about their child traveling out of the country with the other.

These worries may be based on safety or health reasons, or fear that the other parent will refuse to return with the child. Regardless of which situation you find yourself in, meeting with a distinguished divorce lawyer could help settle or overcome children’s passport issues after a New Jersey divorce.

How to Get a Passport for Children of Divorce

If a divorced parent wants their child to get a passport, there are a number of ways to move forward. The most common way is to have both parents appear at the passport office together to file for and request a passport for their child or children. However, this is not always possible when parents are divorced.

In that case, one parent can apply for a child’s passport by themselves provided they have a notarized consent form from the other parent. This is called a Statement of Consent and must include a photocopy of the absent parent’s photo ID (both front and back).

Allowing International Travel

If a parent does not want their child to have a passport, they have the right to prevent them from getting one. In fact, for parents with joint legal custody, consent of both parents is required for their child to obtain a passport. However, this requirement does not apply if only one parent has sole legal custody.

Signing Up for CPIAP

To alleviate some of the fears associated with divorce and travel, the federal government began an initiative called the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP). This program is designed to alert a parent that is enrolled in the system when anyone is trying to apply for a passport for their child.

Anyone who wants to join this program must fill out a CPIAP request form. The form requires participants to prove their identity with a driver’s license, passport, or another form of photo ID that contains a signature.

What Must a Parent Provide For an Issuance Alert Program?

Any parent attempting to join this program must prove their relationship with the child by using a custody or adoption order, an affidavit of paternity, or the child’s birth certificate. If another related party, such as a stepparent or grandparent, is interested in obtaining a passport for a child, they may act on behalf of a parent by providing paperwork that grants them parental consent for them to do so.

Proving Sole Legal Custody

Common children's passport issues after a New Jersey divorce include proof of custody. If one parent has sole legal custody, that parent does not need consent from the other and can simply provide the passport office with a custody or divorce order that demonstrates sole legal custody. An adoption certificate or birth certificate that shows one parent listed can also be used for this same purpose, as may a judicial statement declaring the other parent incompetent.

If the other parent is missing, either by abandoning the family or never having been included in the family, a parent must submit a Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. Since this form has the potential to be used improperly, this method will require evidence and information. If one parent has passed away, the other will need to show a death certificate to certify this before a child’s passport can be successfully obtained.

Help from a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer

When planning to travel overseas after divorce, it is always recommended to confirm your children either have passports or that you can easily obtain one with the other parent’s assistance. For any children's passport issues after a New Jersey divorce, contact an attorney for guidance and help.


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