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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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Plan ahead for passport

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: Do I need my ex-husband's signature to get a passport for our child to travel on vacation?

A: All U.S. citizens traveling to and from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico and Canada will be required to have a passport beginning January 1, 2006. This requirement also includes children. This is a change from prior travel requirements that currently allow the use of a birth certificate and driver’s license. Most adult travelers can apply at any Post Office or county courthouse at least six weeks ahead of their planned travel date. The fee typically ranges from $60 to $90. This change by the U.S. State Department has significant planning implications for divorced and separated parents who take family vacations outside the U.S. The new passport application rules require that both parents and the child be physically present at the time of application for a passport for a child under the age of 14. Provisions to co-operate in the application and renewal of children’s passports should be included in the separation and marital settlement agreements. OnlineAdviser service will make a prototype language available that can be used in the drafting of marital agreements as an immediate measure. Eventually this provision will likely be incorporated into the “boiler-plate” legal document preparation software commonly used by divorce lawyers and do-it-yourself couples.


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