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Family Law Answers
Family Law Answers, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  more than 16 years experience as an attorney - current family law litigation + mediation practice
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My ex husband remarried 4 years ago and his new wife is ower

Customer Question

My ex husband remarried 4 years ago and his new wife is power of atty. and i s constantly harrassing me about my children and where they go to the doctors, ect. Is she allowed to be involved with school meeting ect when it comes to my kids?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Family Law Answers replied 8 years ago.

Hi and thanks for your question.

 

Your ex's new wife does not have any legal parental rights to your children without a court order giving her those rights. A power of attorney signed by your husband is not sufficient to grant her parental rights to your children -- he cannot just transfer his legal rights given to him by the court over to her. I'd be interested in the power of attorney she has, because powers of attorney are typically where he would give her the power over his financial affairs and/or his health care decisions, not those of the children.

 

In any event, just by virtue of her being a stepparent, she does not have the legal right to make major decisions regarding your children such as those concerning medical treatment or education. If your ex is trying to essentially sign over his rights to your children to his new spouse, then you may very well have a strong argument to modify the custody situation if he is so ready to sign off his parental rights.

 

I hope that this answers your question; if so, please click Accept. Thanks very much and I wish you the best here.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have full custody of the kids but the order states that he can have access to health and school records. He has recently joined the Army , can she use the POA to contact the kids doctors and school directly and come to school meetings regarding my kids becuase he is not available?
Expert:  Family Law Answers replied 8 years ago.
During his parenting time with the kids, he has control over routine daily decisions and can pass that control off to another, for example he could have a babysitter he wanted to come watch the kids or leave the kids with his new wife (so long as there's no court order preventing him from diong that).

BUT, he cannot simply transfer his parental rights to another person by a POA and major decisions involving the children's education, schooling and medical care should only be made by the legal parents (again, unless a court order says otherwise).

Since he may be more unavailable now because of his joining the Army, if you do not agree that his new wife can be involved in things like school meetings or contacting the school and doctors, then he would need to obtain a court order to transfer these types of parental rights to his new wife which I believe would be unlikely. Just because he's in the army doesn't necessarily mean he has no contact with the "outside world" and you should be able to communicate with him regarding decisions about the kids without his new wife essentially taking his place.

I hope that this helps!

PS I apologize for the formatting errors here -- I'm trying to correct an issue I'm having with my computer.