What kind of power does a power of attorney actually have?

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What kind of power does a power of attorney actually have?

The mother of my only child signed a power of attorney over to me for our child for 6 months. I have only had him for 3 months and yesterday she went to his school and took him out and took him back out of state to live with her. She didn’t give notice that she was going to do this and she left all of my sons things and just took him only. Is it her legal right to be able to do this? Can she not get in trouble somehow?

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you forsubmitting your question regarding defining the authority for a power of attorney over a minor child.  Your issue, as you described, appears to relate to both the executed power of attorney and child custody laws.  Also, you should be aware that laws governing power of attorney and child custody will vary from state to state, and you should check your local rules for specific legal remedies in your state.   Additionally, depending on whether you approach this issue as a violation of a power of attorney versus a violation of child custody agreement could mean a different type of outcome for your approach. 

 When a person signs a power of attorney for a minor child, they are signing over the authority to another individual to make decisions for their child.  However, within a power of attorney, the right to decisions regarding adoption, the right to decide if your child can get married, and the right to decide if your child can sell their property, are rights that are not transferred.  The rights that are usually covered in a power of attorney are your child’s day-to-day activities, medical decisions, and decisions relating to the child’s education.

Further, with regard to child custody, most states have clauses within child custody agreements that define the protocols one parent must utilize to travel or relocate with the child out-of-state.  If your child custody agreement already addresses this issue, you can petition the court to hold the mother in contempt for violation of the court’s order.  If this is not currently in the custody agreement, you can petition the court for a modification of the current child custody order.

 


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