Parental Rights & Obligations

questions & answers

Question: My children are 15 and 9. I would like to take us on a trip to Europe. When looking at the passport papers it says I need the "other" parent to sign off on Form DS-3053, consent for a minor child to get a passport. My children's father hasn't had ANY contact with them in the past 9+ years. Is there a way around this? Can I file something with Arizona court? Doesn't the length of time count as abandonment by him? Thank you.

Answer: The following is provided for general information only. To find out how the law applies to a specific situation, contact an attorney directly. Simply because one parent has not had contact with the child for a significant length of time, may not be sufficient to avoid the consent requirement. The court may have to make the determination of abandonment. FORM DS-3053 According to the U.S. Department of State (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/under-16.html#consent), Minors under age 16 cannot apply for a passport by themselves. Both parents/guardians must appear in person with the minor and provide consent, authorizing passport issuance to the minor. However, if one parent/guardian is unable to appear in person, then the DS-11 application must be accompanied by a signed, notarized Form DS-3053: Statement of Consent from the non-applying parent/guardian. If the minor only has one parent/guardian, evidence of sole authority to apply for the minor must be submitted with the application in the form of a: • U.S. or foreign birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or adoption decree, listing only the applying parent • Court order granting sole legal custody to the applying parent (unless child’s travel is restricted by that order) • Court order specifically permitting applying parent’s travel with the child Judicial declaration of incompetence of the non-applying parent • Death certificate of the non-applying parent If the minor has two parents/guardians, but one is absent and cannot be located to provide parental consent in a timely manner, the applying parent must submit Form DS-5525: Statement of Exigent/Special Family Circumstances. IMPORTANT NOTE: The written consent from the non-applying parent that accompanies an application for a new passport must be less than three months old. ABANDONMENT Under A.R.S. § 8-201, "Abandoned" is defined as the failure of the parent to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the child, including providing normal supervision. Abandoned includes a judicial finding that a parent has made only minimal efforts to support and communicate with the child. Failure to maintain a normal parental relationship with the child without just cause for a period of six months constitutes evidence of abandonment. Evidence of abandonment can be sufficient to justify the termination of the parent-child relationship. In considering such abandonment grounds, the court shall also consider the best interests of the child. A.R.S. § 8-533. The court may terminate the parental rights of a parent if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent abandoned the child. A.R.S. § 8-863. LEGAL HELP Visit www.AZLawHelp.org. In the window frame located on the right side of the page, look for the Find Free Legal Help section. Select the appropriate county and the search results will show a list of organizations that provide legal assistance.

QUESTIONS

  • My children are 15 and 9. I would like to take us on a trip to Europe. When looking at the passport papers it says I need the "other" parent to sign off on Form DS-3053, consent for a minor child to get a passport. My children's father hasn't had ANY contact with them in the past 9+ years. Is there a way around this? Can I file something with Arizona court? Doesn't the length of time count as abandonment by him? Thank you.

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