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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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sole custody papers for passport application

Customer Question

i need to apply for my daughter's passport. her bio father is on the birth certificate. i was unwed to her bio father in georgia. i was told i had sole custody because i was unwed. how can i obtain documentation from the court showing i have sole custody? i need this to satisfy the requirement for minor passport application

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

I am presuming from your facts that you do not know where the father lives, or that if you do, he refuses to sign any application giving his consent?

If all that has occurred is signing of paternity and legitimation documentation, you retain full custodial rights to your child, because such rights can only be allocated to another by a court (there is no form that can be signed granting such in Georgia). In other words, there's nothing a court can give you to show that you have sole custody -you automatically do.

To put it another way,
unless and unntil a court enters an Order, either temporary or permanent, you have sole legal custody if you're the mother of a child born out of wedlock in GA.Thus, if the father were to file for visitation rights, for example, the court would enter an order establishing custody and visitation. But there's no need for that if the father isn't a part of the child's life currently because you already have custody automatically.

In any event, what you can do is file a Form DS-3053 with the application, and complete the "Statement of Special Circumstances" explaining why the signature of the other parent cannot be obtained. If the other parent cannot be located, or, if located, is refusing to cooperate or have contact, respond to requests, etc., that can be a special circumstance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Because his name is on the birth certificate they require his consent. They are not taking my special circumstances statement. how can i get courts document stating i have sole custody that is given to me by right.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Ugh, that's ridiculous. Just because a father's name is listed on the birth certificate does not give the father any legal rights to custody or visitation under Georgia law -but since they will not recognize that, you would actually have to prepare and file a petition (and any accompanying forms) for custody, and have the father served. I don't know how soon you need the passport - but the process itself from start to finish could potentially take months depending on things like how busy the court docket is.

There aren't really any standard forms for this, and therefore, I would highly recommend you speak to a local family attorney about having the petition prepared and filed for you. If you must go it alone, I would suggest seeing if there is a legal aid office in your county that can help you with this. If not, this site has some self-help forms for child custody for Georgia. These are online forms from certain counties in Georgia. As noted on the site - these forms are correct for content, but if you live in a different county, you would want to make sure you modify the forms to reflect that.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i m confused, based on the link provided above the forms for custody are for superior court. i thought custody cases fall within juvenile court. why must i petition the count for something this is rightfully mine?

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.
I apologize. The Superior Courts do hear some matters involving family cases, such as child support and divorce cases. I didn't realize when I gave you that link that it was strictly superior court forms Unfortunately, I cannot find standard forms to simply file for custody online for Georgia, so you likely will have to consult a local family law attorney or legal aid office for assistance.

As for why you are petitioning - because you stated you need proof from the courts as to custody. There is no "form" or piece of paper the court can write you saying you have custody automatically. You simply do as a matter of law where the child is born out of wedlock and you are the mother. If they are unwilling to accept as part of the passport application your statement of special circumstances the explanation that you have sole custody as a matter of law in Georgia, and cannot obtain the father's signature (for whatever reasons) then the proof you must acquire is and order from the court actually establishing custody.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What "special circumstances" will be accepted on the ds-3053 form?

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.
There is no one set of special circumstances that will be accepted. It depends on you being able to show why you are unable to get the other parent's signature for the application. For example, if you are unable to locate the other pack, and you have checked with friends, family, places he last worked, etc., and still cannot find him, that could be considered special circumstances. Similarly, if you know where the other parent is, but he will not take your calls, will not respond to requests to fill out the application, and otherwise will not cooperate in getting this done, that could be also considered special circumstances.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

are there any examples of accepted special circumstances?

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 3 years ago.
Sorry for the late reply - I was out when you replied, and only now am back home and able to respond.

There aren't any examples that I have ever seen online or elsewhere, no. This makes sense, when you think about it - if they made accepted examples of special circumstances available to the general public, people would simply copy those without being genuine. And, like we discussed, because the term "special circumstances" has no set definition, the forms are going to be considered on a case by case basis.

What are the circumstances that the other parent will not agree to signing the passport application?

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