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Making Decisions

Posted by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:03 AM
  • 49 Replies

Is there ever a good enough reason for a SP to have a POA/"notarized" note from one parent granting them to make big decisions for the children and the other parent not be aware of this or give permission for it?

Why are there SP's and parents who are okay with just handing out this responsibility to the SP while keeping this information from the other parent?

Big decisions, like medical ones, are a big deal and if something goes wrong the OP can, and should, hold you (general you, meaning the SP who holds the POA and makes decisions) responsible for whatever goes wrong because you aren't the parent and both you and one parent thinks you're okay to make these decisions sans the only other parent in the mix being in the know where their child is concerned.

"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
Thomas Jefferson
to James Madison

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Ben Franklin
American Statesman
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:03 AM
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by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:10 AM
No there isn't both parents should have to sign and be aware of it. If both can't agree that you can/ should make (imo only in an emergency would this ever be necessary) decisions in their absence than you don't get a paper allowing you to do so, sorry.
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:23 AM

I  dont know if this counts as big but, my SO gave me a notorized paper stating i could enroll his son into school

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

Speaking as a SM, I can understand the need for a SP to be given permission to make certain decisions in the absence of both parents. I do think that both parents need to be on board with that SP making the decisions, and I think the decisions should be limited. Major decisions? Nope. Medical? Eh, if the kid needs to get a poison ivy shot, why can't SP take him if Mom and Dad are otherwise occupied? Kid has a broken wrist? That's a Mom or Dad thing, not a SP thing. I would not be comfortable with DH giving me permission to make decisions if BM was not aware of that. The only exception is if the other parent lived a long way away and was uninvolved. In that case, it might be better for an involved SP to make decisions sometimes.

by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:35 AM
As I was thinking more about this and relating it to my situation, I thought how would I feel about exh gf having this without my knowledge. My ds 7 has a number of medical issues dating back to birth and before that actually :), she is not aware of all of these, exh is not aware of the whole spectrum (he chooses not to be involved with medical and school) so she couldn't possibly have any idea. So no I don't want her making decisions in my absence. I don't know 100% of dss medical history, I would be perfectly fine with bm not being comfortable with me not having that ability, in fact even if I did I would still procede with a dss medical situation the same as I do now, dss gets sick beyond a sniffle or a mild belly ache while in my care I contact a parent and they speak to each other and then give me their instructions.
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:45 AM

I think as long as the other parent is still around and somewhat involved (and EOWE counts as involvement) this parent should have a say and be given the opportunity to take on these extra "jobs". If said parent refuses, then and only then should the BP resort to given any PoAs to the SP or anybody else.

by Le Bonjour Chat on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:01 AM

The only way I'd let DH give me that kind of responsibility is if BM were dead.  Last I checked she was alive and kicking.  I don't want that much responsibility.  DH and BM can take care of the kids and get them to their stuff/dr appts/etc. on their own.

by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM
If BPs don't want this happening, then they need to get along well enough that it wouldn't be an issue.

Also, if both BPs are truly involved than this shouldn't be an issue.
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by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Can that even be done without both parents signing off if they have joint legal?  I'm not familiar with the law, but it doesn't seem reasonable for a SP to be granted those responsibilities without both BPs' involvement and consent.

I have paperwork with regards to the kids for things like authorizing medical and dental care, to put them on the airplane or pick them up at the airport, enroll them in school, etc.  But both BPs were involved in creating the documents and both BPs signed the documents.  

Further, I wouldn't think to do anything without trying to get a hold of the parents.  This stuff is only to be used when/if I can't reach either BP in the case of something serious, if legal consent needs to be given in writing and neither parent is available, or in a case where routine medical stuff like a school physical or a dental cleaning need to be done and I'm the one taking them.  (or to prove I'm not kidnapping the kids at the airport)

I guess every situation is different, but I can't see the upside to a SP having that kind of responsibility without both parents on board.  Sounds like a good way to create a lot of drama.

I CAN see the benefit of having discussed the parents' wishes and having things hammered out in writing BEFORE the situation arises though.  

by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:09 AM

It's not just for making decisions.  Taking SS for a bloodtest and some xrays, I was asked if I had a POA to be present.  Shock to both DH and me.  That's the only time I've ever been questioned about taking the kids to the doctor.  SD broke her foot, and it was no biggie to take her to the ER or later to the orthopedic to get her casted.  Not sure what the big deal was about SS's blood draw. 

Anyhow, I don't have a POA for my SKs.  And except for that one occasion, it hasn't been a problem.  When I think one might be needed, I just make sure DH goes.  I've no interest in making medical decisions.  (I'm quick to punt on issues of far lesser significance.)  But as the go-to chauffer, appointment maker/taker, and all that, I can see where another CSM might encounter a need for it.  In my state, both BPs have to sign off on POA, so it's not something a CP can award CSP willy nilly.  And that's probably a very good thing!

by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:16 AM
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Poison Ivy shot?  I have a very, very bad reaction to that and I never got a shot.  I don't want my kid getting a shot (if one exists) for that.  I don't want my kid getting the flu shot, gardisil, or any other shot I've not done my own research on.  So, I don't want a SP having the "power" to get it for my kids.

I may not get along with my ex, but that doesn't mean he can have a wife do these things for our kids. Not getting along with me doesn't mean I'm left out of decisions for my children.  

I don't want a SP having the power to make education decisions either.

I mull and think and ponder and beat myself up over some decisions.  It's a hard job, making sure I'm doing the right thing for my kids.  I don't want someone who isn't as attached, vested, or responsible for my children's overall well being having that power.  

If something went wrong when a SM decided that my child could have, say, a straight dose of penicillian (doesn't happen often that I'm aware of, but docs do it from time to time) she would be the one responsible for the adverse reaction my kid had.  I wouldn't care that dad gave her a piece of paper saying she had the power to screw things up with his permission, as far as I'm concerned SM is an individual with a brain of her own capable of rational thought and therefore can decide things without knowing everything there is to know about my health history.

And since I'm also big on medical privacy I wouldn't be giving her access to my kids history either.  

I'd prefer that nonparents just stay out of these types of decisions unless both parents are on board with it.

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