I am the father of a 12 year old in North Carolina. Purely out of spite, the child’s mother is refusing to sign a passport application consent form allowing the child to be issued a passport. There is no reasonable thought that I would kidnap and flee to another country or anything like that. In fact the proposed travel is to Canada. We have a custody agreement filed with the state that is silent with regard to any kind of travel restrictions. The passport applicatoin is the only reason the mother has any control over the situation what-so-ever. She blames the child for the divorce, for a lot of her own problems, is probably jealous that the child has opportunities that she doesn’t / didn’t, and is all about trying to create problems for me in any way she can. Is there any way short of filing another lawsuit that I can deal with this? go around her perhaps, etc…?
Thank you in advance for your time: Any help or perspective would be greatly appreciated.
Some additional background:
The mother and I have been divorced for several years. We recently “agreed” to a modified custody agreement that is filed with the court by which we have joint legal custody and I have primary physical custody.
The mother has long made a point of creating problems or creating a roadblock each and every time that she can, especially in any situation where she feels that she can make situations difficult for me - one of the primary reasons that I sought primary physical custody and legal. We settled right before going to court as is often the situation, and I acquesced on full legal custody based on both attorneys’ assertion that there would be little need for joint decisions as it was all handled in the agreement. we had joint physical custody before that (50/50).
Except it wasn’t all handled… Each Summer I have arranged for the child to have trips to visit grandparents and other close family relatives on both sides of the family. It is not unusual for the child to travel with relatives on either side for a week or so here and there during the summer - nearly always out of state. It has been really good for her and she has flown by herself (unescorted minor program, etc…) since she was 6 and before the mother and I were divorced.
My parents have been trying to plan a trip to Canada with her for three years, the mother was not in opposition to this previously, but is very angry with me regarding the new custody arrangement, and just about anything that she can think of on a daily basis. The trip wold be very good for the child and the child very much wants to go. We were planning on her going and were quite shocked when we found out that the passport form required two signatures. hopeful in asking mom for the signature, but not so surprised when she refused. She is uncooperative to the point that she rarely answers any communication - even those required by our agreement (always offered politely and in appropriate form).
When asked to sign the passport consent form (she vehemently refuses to be “under the same roof” as me so although I politely offered to meet her there, I knew she wouldn’t), she finally replied that she did not feel it was safe for our child to travel to Canada with my parents and refuses to sign the passport application. She did say that she might have a different perspective if I was going to escort the child at all times, but did not reply when I asked if she would sign if I agreed to accompany them on vacation. Based on many past experiences, she has decided she isn’t going to sign it just because I have asked her to, and contrary to her assertion that it would be OK if I were going to be with the child, I presume that as usual she will just not respond or when pressed really hard will reply that she doesn’t trust me to go, etc… Note that I have carefully and in good faith worked to honor every term of the agreements between us and have gone out of my way to try to be accomodating in many situations that I did not.
Is there some mechanism by which I could compel her to sign the passport application? or perhaps get the child a passport without her consent? She has made it clear and in writing that she is only concerned about the childs safety if she travels outside the country’s borders. Yet she is fine with the child traveling to large urban cities in the US by herself.
I would very much appreciate any insight or guidance that might be offered. I plan to start calling the passport office / state department regarding he requirement for other parent “not available”. I would of course be honest regarding the reason for the “mother”'s absence when filling out the form.