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You fought hard to gain custody of your children. But what happens if you won't be able to care for them for an extended period of time? If you're going to be separated from your children due to business travel or military deployment, or if you're facing months or years of rehab treatment or incarceration, you may need someone to make some important decisions while caring for your children. But how do you make that happen without ceding custody?
A power of attorney can give a trusted friend or relative authority to make such decisions in your absence. So how do these powers work, and what are their limits?
Do's and Don'ts
While a power of attorney can authorize someone to make decisions for your child on his or her -- or your -- behalf, that authority is not unlimited. A power of attorney generally allows someone, known as your "agent," to make:
But a power of attorney cannot:
Nuts and Bolts
Child care powers of attorney will be governed by your state, and the rules can vary depending on where you live. Some states may limit to whom you can grant powers of attorney, whether the power of attorney must be filed with a court, whether you must notify the child's other parent, and how long a power of attorney can remain in effect. And you may reserve the right to revoke the power of attorney in the document, and revocation may need to be done in writing.
You should check your state's website for power of attorney regulations or, better yet, contact an experienced family law attorney for help.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.