Child Custody: What Is Power Of Attorney?
By Cassandra Daniels | March 29, 2022
Power of attorney, child custody, and other related matters can weigh you down when thinking about an impending divorce. You love and care for your children and only want what’s best for them. With your busy schedule, divorce proceedings, and other responsibilities, it’s tough to focus your full attention on their wants and needs.
You’re not alone in feeling this way. This is why it’s important to have an attorney you can trust to walk you through the process of your divorce, especially when children are in the picture.
There are several types of power of attorney. But specifically, in a child custody case, you may find you need to grant power of attorney for your children. You likely have questions about what it means, who it applies to, and if it’s something you need. These are all critical questions to ask, and they’ll play a part in your divorce strategy, depending on your requirements.
Here’s everything you need to know about any power of attorney-related matter in Texas.
Don’t attempt to handle your divorce on your own. Contact the Daniels Law Firm today.
What Power Of Attorney Means In Texas
A power of attorney for a child is another adult with the temporary legal right to make decisions about the child’s care. This includes decisions about their education, medical care, and more.
If there’s any reason that you can’t take care of your child for an extended period of time, you need to talk to your lawyer about a power of attorney. No matter the circumstances around your divorce, the children involved need to be considered a priority. The person with the power of attorney is also known as the agent or attorney-in-fact.
Why Would A Child Need A Power Of Attorney?
You may not need to have a power of attorney at all. Families typically need a power of attorney for children when they are:
- Working away from home or on a long vacation
- Active military members on deployment
- Have health concerns requiring them to have a lengthy hospital stay
If you don’t fall into any of these categories or can otherwise take care of your children, then you don’t need a power of attorney.
What You Need To Choose An Agent
You will need some basic information to choose someone as an agent for your children. You’ll need:
- Names, dates of birth, and contact information for you and your agent
- Names and dates of birth of the children
- Start and end dates or a timeline for the power of attorney duties
- Detailed powers you would like to give your agent
- A notary public
Ensure you, your agent, and your attorney keep a copy of all documents involved.
Parental Rights Over Power Of Attorney
This part is essential. You cannot choose a power of attorney for your children without their other legal parent or guardian knowing. In Texas, parental rights are absolute. This means there are no rights given to grandparents, siblings, and other relatives, no matter how close they may be to you or your child.
Moreover, if you share your child with another parent or legal guardian, they need to sign off on a power of attorney. You can be the only signer if the other parent is unavailable and/or you’ve made efforts to contact them with no reply.
If you have serious concerns regarding your children’s emotional and physical wellbeing, you need to speak to your attorney so they can help. It’s critical to be open and honest with your legal team, especially if your children’s safety is at risk.
Selecting An Agent With Power Of Attorney
Once you file an Original Petition of Divorce, you can move forward with the process. Some people think they have an advantage over their partner by filing first, especially when considering how to help their children best. Some people might even think filing first automatically gives them the right to choose a power of attorney.
But it’s important to know that the state of Texas doesn’t grant special privileges or recognize one spouse over another based on the order they filed. The only potential advantage you have is planning and/or presenting your case first in the event of a trial.
Anyone you choose as a power of attorney for your children should be able to fit your children into their lives with little disruption. This is why many people choose family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, or extremely close friends. Whoever you choose does not have to be a blood relative. They should be someone you can trust with the ability to care for and support your child temporarily, keeping their needs as their main concern.
Does An Agent With Power Of Attorney Have Legal Custody?
No. This is a commonly asked question that tends to confuse people. A power of attorney is not the same as having legal custody. Your agent is someone who has temporary decision-making authority while you are unable to care for them directly. Legal custody requires a court order.
As the parent or legal guardian, you will set the time frame for your agent. You also have the right to revoke your agent’s authority at any time and take your children back. However, if your children have lived with their agent for more than 6 months, that agent can make a lawsuit against you, asking for custody.
Fierce Representation For Your Child Custody & Child Support Needs
When you’re dealing with how to best navigate your divorce with children involved, the thought of it can be overwhelming. Your mind is racing with thoughts of how your divorce will impact your children, whether they’ll be angry or hurt, etc. This is why you need an experienced attorney familiar with family law in your corner. Daniels Law Firm takes on the legal responsibility while you maintain the focus on your children, their needs, and how to best support them through the process.