Custody Issues: How do I authorize my new spouse to get medical treatment for my child?

Nobody looks forward to taking their child to the doctor or emergency room, but sometimes it’s necessary. So what do you do if you need help from someone other than your child’s other parent? What if you are out of town on business and you need your spouse – the stepparent of your child – to take him or her to the doctor?

The Texas Family Code has the answer. In Section 32.001 of the code, you find the following:

Consent by Non-Parent

(a) The following persons may consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child when the person having the right to consent as otherwise provided by law cannot be contacted and that person has not given actual notice to the contrary:

. . .

(5) an adult who has actual care, control, and possession of the child and has written authorization to consent from a person having the right to consent;

                . . .

So to give consent, you have to have the right to consent. As a parent, your right to consent derives from a combination of your role as your child’s parent and any rights given you or limitations placed on you in your divorce decree or custody order, if any such documents exist.

Do note, however, that the one medical issue that is specifically excluded from Section 32.001 is the power to give another person the right to “consent for the immunization of a child.”

As provided in Section 32.002 of the Family Code, the form of the written authorization is simple. It is not a special document such as a Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney. Additionally, it does not need to be notarized.

Specifically, the code provides as follows:

Consent Form

(a) Consent to medical treatment under this subchapter must be in writing, signed by the person giving consent, and given to the doctor, hospital, or other medical facility that administers the treatment.

(b) The consent must include:

(1) the name of the child;

(2) the name of one or both parents, if known, and the name of any managing conservator or guardian of the child;

(3) the name of the person giving consent and the person’s relationship to the child;

(4) a statement of the nature of the medical treatment to be given; and

(5) the date the treatment is to begin.

So there you have it – pretty simple. If you are unavailable to give consent yourself and need to authorize your spouse, just follow the outline above. But one word of caution: A document that allows the medical professional to treat your child does not require the professional to treat your child. So if at all possible, check with the provider in advance of the need, to make sure that there are not problems when the time arises.

If you have other child related or custody issues that you think we can help with, you can contact the Beal Law Firm by calling 817.261.4333 or 214.414.0418 or write us at You can find us on the web at

Author: beallawfirmblog

This Blog is operated by the Beal Law Firm, PLLC. The attorney responsible for this is Eric Beal, Senior Attorney and Founder of the Beal Law Firm.

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