How A Power Of Attorney Can Affect Your Case

Question

What type of adult power of attorney would not jeopardize a parent’s custody in a divorce? If an adult has diminished decision-making skills but has been carrying for its children just fine. What power of attorney would be best to have filed for said adult? If they should have another adult present before making major decisions but can care for their kids just fine, but need a third party for the sake of finishing their divorce and major decisions ongoing, such as loans or contracts or possibly major medical decisions. They have current full custody of 3 kids toddler to tween, and the opposing divorce party is not fit, so we don’t want to risk anything that week land the kids in DCFS care. Or make them dependent on the power of attorney as now they live over an hour from family.

Answer

Any competent parent can voluntarily agree to give another adult a power of attorney. In this case, it would be over his or her finances. That same power can also be revoked at any time. Alternatively, a parent could use a less formal way for protection.  This would require joint signatures on checks or to have a trusted advisor that he or she seeks for advice before making any financial decision. Consulting with another person for advice does not impugn the parent’s ability to be a parent. The parent does not have to consult with another person or to give a power of attorney.  Instead, an interested party could seek a legal guardianship over that adult.

However, whether to seek a legal guardianship will probably require choosing between hurting custody or risking some poor financial decisions. It would be best not to seek a legal guardian if the custodial parent is competent to care for the children. It would be hard for the court to distinguish between competence to make parenting decisions and competence to make financial decisions. Making a legal issue of competence will definitely open the door for the other parent to ask the court to look at custody, and it will cause additional expense. For more information consult an attorney or our blog “Important Facts” below.

Cameron JohnsonHow A Power Of Attorney Can Affect Your Case