I have an 18-month-old son from a 15-month marriage. We have been living in separate residences and apart for 11 months. My wife ( soon to hopefully be my ex-wife)is has been not very cooperative with my visitation, not showing up many times for the court-ordered visits with my son, which we do the exchange at the local precinct because she cannot be trusted. She had me arrested several months ago and has an order of protection on me for entirely baseless accusations. The court system is just outrageous; men have no rights in NY. She is now refusing to sign the divorce papers stating that she wants a passport for my son, which I refuse to agree to because I genuinely believe that she will leave the country and take my son away. I love my son with my life ( seriously, she has family abroad). Can the divorce still go through while we are disputing this, and she refuses to sign the papers? Can the judge rule that she can have this passport leaving me powerless? Does the judge have that power? This whole mess has reached the Supreme court already. Thank you for your time.
In New York, the divorce proceedings are divided into two parts. The first part is proving grounds, and the second part is dealing with the division of marital assets, child custody and support, and spousal support, and any other issues that may be pertinent to the divorcing couple. You did not indicate in which stage you are. If you both agree on the grounds, then the court can order the divorce and hold the order in abeyance until the financial matters have been finally decided. The court could also have a hearing on the passport issue and keep the order in abeyance until that matter is resolved as well. The judge does have the power to order that a passport be provided to the child if the judge so decides. Explain to the judge your fears that the child will be taken out of the country. Support that fear with whatever documentation or facts that you have.
Unlike in most states, in New York, the Supreme Court is, in fact, the lowest court in the state, not the highest court in the state.
I strongly suggest that you try to mediate this matter with your spouse rather than bring it to court. It will be cheaper and faster and less traumatic.
If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss mediating your divorce.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions