Planning a trip away from your child can be extremely exciting but nerve-wracking, too. Not only do you have to make travel accommodations for yourself; you also have to decide who is going to watch your kiddo while you’re away. And, if you’re like most moms, you may be a bit cautious about leaving your child behind.
You might even experience a panic attack when you imagine all the bad things that might happen to you or your child while you’re separated. The good news is that you can stop worrying and start packing. By mentally preparing for the temporary separation and ensuring that the person who is taking care of your beloved child has all the documentation they need, you’ll feel better about leaving your child and can focus on having a fantastic time.
If you’re only planning on being for a few days or months and you plan to leave your child with your parents, in-laws or another relative or friend, you should get a medical power of attorney for a minor. This document enables the biological parents or guardian of a child (under 18 years of age), to give their child’s caregiver, legal permission to act on their child’s behalf. That is, they’ll then be able to seek routine or emergency medical care, sign medical consent forms, for the child when the parent is unavailable to do so. This document needs to be notarized and signed by two witnesses.
If you are going to be away from your child for up to six months or more, you should provide your caregiver with temporary guardianship to take care of your child while you’re gone. In Texas, temporary guardianship can be given with the Authorization Agreement for Voluntary Adult Caregiver form.
This form is signed by you, the parent, and an adult caregiver, who agrees to accept the appointment. Temporary guardianship is valid for up to 6 months and enables your chosen caregiver to make important decisions about your child’s care and well-being when you’re unavailable. For instance, they can make decisions about the custody, education, care and control of your child (just like a parent would).
This type of guardianship doesn’t suspend your parental rights but enables the appointed non-parent with temporary legal rights to make decisions on behalf of your child. In essence, the appointed guardian agrees to nurture the child’s emotional and physical growth as well as provide shelter, food, clothing, etc. Once you have this document in place, you can keep your children out of the foster system if, God forbid, something happens while you’re away.
3.Designating a Guardian with Estate Planning
If you want a more permanent solution to caring for your child, you may want to take this a step further and create a Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need document. This document provides the court with valuable information as to the person you’d like to take care of your child in the event of your death or incapacity. Once approved, it remains valid until your child gets married, is adopted, or reaches the tender age of 18 years of age (when guardianship automatically ends). With this document, you’re able to nominate your choice of a guardian.
Keep in mind that this document is only for the nomination of your child’s guardian and doesn’t control how your property will be divided – for that, you’ll need a will or trust. This type of guardianship can be revoked at any time by signing and notarizing a new guardianship form.
4.Gather Relevant Documents
Your non-parent caregiver should receive your child’s passport, birth certificate, vaccination records, health insurance and social security card, and health insurance card. These documents will enable your caregiver to take care of your child while you’re away. For instance, with a birth certificate, your child’s caregiver can register them for school, take them on a trip, etc. With health insurance, they can secure medical treatment in case of an emergency.
Leaving your child with a trusted family member or friend can be stressful, but when you’ve mentally prepared for the separation and provided your caregiver with the required legal documentation to attend to your child, you will have a less stressful trip knowing your beloved child is safe and cared for when you’re not there.
If you still have questions about temporary guardianship or need help with your estate plan, contact Ibekwe Law. Our experienced legal staff has the knowledge and expertise to help you figure out the best options for you and your family. Have a fun and safe trip!