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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1503
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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I am a resident of Illinois. Married with an adopted child

Customer Question

I am a resident of Illinois. Married with an adopted child and another child of my own. I want to get a passport for my boy because it has expired. I went to the Chicago Passport service office and was told that I needed to get the consent of the mother. My boys ( now 16 years old) has never lived or seen his birth Mom, my current wife has been with him since he was ten days old. My current wife would like to adopt our boy and my boys Mom has agreed to do this. For now, I would like to take my kids on vacation and need a passport. Since my boys birth certificate has me and his birth mom, I am wondering what forms or legal documents do I have to fill out and send to his birth mom so that I, the dad, can update my boy's passport for travel. I was told at the Chicago Passport office that the Mom has to come in person to sign, but that is not possible since she lives with her family in Puerto Rico. My boys Mom is currently Married and also has her own family in Puerto Rico. What forms, applicable to Illinois and Puerto Rico are accepted by the Passport office, does she need to fill out to give me the full authority to obtain a passport for my son. I have his old expired passport, birth certificate, state Ilinois ID with me as his father but my wife is not his mom. What can I do that would be faster than going through the lengthy adoption process that would allow me the Dad to obtain a passport. My boy turns 17 on Sept 28, 2016.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I’m a licensed attorney with 36 years’ experience. I am a family lawyer and an appellate attorney, but I have many years’ experience with landlord-tenant issues, contract law, and other types of law. I also have written hundreds of legal articles. I look forward to helping you today.

Please note:This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site.

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Can you tell me if you actually have a court order for custody of your 16 year old? Thanks!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

I know you haven't viewed this yet, so I'll leave an answer here. If there's no custody order, mom is supposed to sign.

However, there is a way to bypass that and bypass going through adoption proceedings now.

If the mother cannot be located or is not available, you can submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. The statement must explain in detail the mother's unavailability and you can explain the circumstances, and recent efforts made to contact her. Exigent/Special Family Circumstances are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and there is no guarantee that it will be approved, but there is a likelihood based on the fact that mom hasn't been in his life since birth. That being said, you're dealing with government officials here, so they may not "get it." If they don't grant it, then you'd have to take the next step.
Next, you can request a court order from a judge that would give you permission to obtain a passport for your son and travel with him. I would recommend getting a family lawyer concerning how to obtain such a court order.

If you get to that point and need me to find a family lawyer for you, let me know if you want me to find a family lawyer for you in your area. I would need to know the biggest city/town near you so I can find lawyers for you. I do this free of charge for my customers here, and while we're not allowed to recommend a specific attorney, I can point you in the right direction.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

The problem with this is method -- the form -- is that this is for kids under 16 and yours is 16. There is no other form for this, other than the one I listed above.

The reason why mom's signature may be required is that you have to show you have sole custody with a custody order. Generally, unless you have sole legal custody, you'll need the signatures of both parents to get a passport.
If you have a custody order, please show it where you apply for a passport and see if that works. If there is no order, then see if you can fill this form out anyway and present it to them although you must say that the child is 16 and must be truthful in the form.

If none of this works, you would have to get court permission to bypass the need for bio mom's signature as I indicated above.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

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Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 1 year ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question and if my answer was helpful for you or if there is any more information that you need. Thanks!