If your child does not already have a passport, you may want or need to obtain one. The question then arises as to whether the other parent can object. If you have sole custody or sole legal decision-making authority, you should be able to obtain a passport without obtaining the consent of the other parent. If custody or legal decision-making authority has not yet been established, your ability to obtain a passport without the other parent’s consent depends in part on the child’s birth certificate. If the parent seeking a passport for the child is not listed on the passport, that parent will be unable to obtain a passport absent the other parent’s consent. However, if the parent seeking a passport for the child is the only parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, that parent should be able to obtain a passport without the other parent’s consent.
If the parents have court-ordered joint custody or joint legal decision-making authority, the consent of both parents will be needed. If one of the parents objects to the issuance of a passport for the child, the parent seeking the passport will need to obtain a court order permitting that parent to apply for a passport over the objection of the other parent. There other requirements that must be met before a passport will be issued by the U.S. Department of State. You should visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to find out all the requirements before seeking a passport. Here is a link that is to that page as of the posting of this article: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/under-16.html
Another important thing to keep in mind is the option to take advantage of the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program if you believe the other parent may seek a passport in order to remove the child without your consent by means of fraud or other methods. The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program allows the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues to contact the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardians(s) to verify whether the parental consent requirement for minor passport issuance has been met when a passport application has been submitted for an enrolled child. In addition, upon a child’s enrollment in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, the Department of State may alert the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a pending passport application and past passport issuances for the child. Only U.S. citizens or children who qualify for U.S. citizenship under the age of 18 can be enrolled in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.
Of course, if you believe that the other parent may try to remove your child from the country in order to deprive you of parenting time or for whatever reason that you believe is not in the child’s best interest, you should seek immediate legal advice.