Authorized Relative’s Rights and Duties – I want to discuss one more point about the parent-child relationship, and that is the rights and duties of a relative who has been legally authorized by the parent(s) to act on a child’s behalf.
It is important to note we are not talking about child-safety placement in this blog. The Texas Family Code actually allows parents the ability to give specified authority to a caregiver – a grandparent, adult sibling, or adult aunt or uncle – through an authorization agreement that has been approved by the court.
Simply put, while parents have the right to make decisions on behalf of their children, they also have the right to include others, such as family members, in that process should the parent be unavailable.
This authorization agreement can be for a specified period of time, or it can state “until revoked.”
In a valid authorization agreement, a parent can authorize a relative to do the following acts for the child:
- Consent to medical treatment.
- Obtain insurance.
- Enroll in school.
- Authorize extracurricular, civic, or social activities.
- Authorize driver’s license or identification cards.
- Authorize employment.
- Apply for and receive public benefits.
One or both parents can enter into an authorization agreement with a non-parent relative. If only one parent is involved, that parent must give the other parent notice of the agreement in most cases. If this doesn’t happen, the other parent can either contest or revoke the agreement.
Just like any other agreement, it must be in writing and will need court approval.
It must also contain the following:
- Responsible parties’ information (contact, relationship, etc.), including a clause that states all parties agree to continually update their contact information over time.
- State that the parent has voluntarily authorized the non-parent relative, who has in turn voluntarily assumed the responsibility of performing those functions.
- Document must state that there is no one else with authorization to care for or control the child.
- Document must state that to everyone’s knowledge, the courts do not have jurisdiction over the child.
- Document must state there is no other current, valid authorization agreement regarding the child.
- Terms of expiration. At a minimum, must state, “until revoked.”
- Document must state that the agreement conforms with the Texas Family Code, Chapter 34.
- All parties must sign, and the agreement must contain space for a notary public’s signature and seal.
An authorization agreement is an important legal document and a parent can terminate it and resume custody, possession, care, and control of a child on demand. If you are thinking about executing an authorization agreement, it is always a good idea to consult with a Family Law attorney.
If you have questions over anything in this blog, or a question on something that has not been covered in this section, please give one of our team members at Nelson Law Group, PC a call.