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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 31769
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am the divorced single mom of one 10 year old son. My ex

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I am the divorced single mom of one 10 year old son. My ex was abusive and uses every opportunity to continue to control my life through our son. During the marriage I was unable to finish school because of the abuse. Since the divorce (which was in 2007) I have gone back to school and am graduating Suma Cum Laude from DePaul University in June 2010. I am going to grad school in the Fall and have been invited to complete research towards my grad thesis in Tanzania (East Africa) over the summer. The problem is, I need to get a passport for my son and my ex will not cooperate and sign the document needed so that I can get a passport to take my son with me to Tanzania for the summer. Because he was abusive, I can't leave my son here with him. What can I do? Please help! I was awarded permanent full custody with the divorce. Thank you for your time and help.

As you know, federal law requires the signature of both parents, or the child's legal guardians, prior to the issuance of the passport for a child under the age of 16. Both parents must either appear in person to request the passport, or the non-applying parent may sign a form before a notary public granting permission for the issuance of a passport. Alternatively, the parent applying for the passport must document his/her sole authority to obtain a passport for the child. In order to comply with the law, Passport Services will require evidence of one of the following:

  • sole custody
  • a court order allowing the parent to travel with the child
  • a written statement under penalty of perjury that the other parent agrees to issuance or is unavailable
  • a termination of the other parent's parental rights
  • or compelling humanitarian reasons relating to the welfare of the child

If the father will not sign off, you will have to file a petition with your local family law court for an order granting you the right to apply and obtain one for him.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Is the permanent full custody I was granted with the divorce the same as sole custody? And if so, can I simply provide proof of that to apply? If not, how easy is it (and how long does it take) to file a petition with the court to have the right to go for the summer?

If the order gives you full physical and legal custody, all you should need is a copy of that court order.


If this is not the case, you should be able to file this petition and get an order fairly quickly - you should be able to get it done within a few months.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

How many months and how much does it cost to file a petition? (And how do I know if the full permanent custody I was granted includes physical and legal? I'm not sure that's what that means.)

It depends on the court docket, schedules, etc. However, you should be able to get this done within 45-60 days. I can't tell you the exact cost - much depends on how much an attorney costs. IF you want this done asap, you should hire an attorney.


The court order should tell you whether you have sole legal and physical custody.

Roger and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank You! :)
No problem and good luck!!