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How can a step-parent get the rights to make medical decisions for their step-child?

Noblesville, IN |

I have a step-son that my husband has 50% legal and physical custody of. It's very frustrating knowing that I cannot take him to the doctor or make any medical decisions for him; I would have to wait for my husband to show up. I have heard that if you get a power-of-attorney or a health care proxy that as a step-parent, I would be allowed to make medical decisions for my step-son if both of his biological parents are absent. Is this true? If so, how would I go about doing this? And would I need consent from the biological mother, or just from my husband (the biological father)?

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Best Answer

I believe with a healthcare power of attorney you could make medical decisions for your step-son. I do think this is something Mom and Dad should agree to grant to you. Since they have joint legal custody there needs to be an agreement between them regarding major decisions related to their child's medical care. I think authorizing someone else to make medical decisions for a child is a major decision. You should contact an attorney for assistance.

Travis A. Van Winkle The Law Office of Travis Van Winkle, LLC does not intend for this response to be construed as legal advice. Instead, it is intended as general information. You should consult with a lawyer for legal guidance regarding the specifics of your case.


Lets first differentiate between medical check-ups versus emergencies; I doubt, in all honesty, anybody would have an issue with a step-parent taking the child to the emergency room if that need arose.

But, step-parents have very little rights in custody, and certainly none that would allow them to make legal decisions.



So there is nothing that I can have issued through the courts that will allow me the same rights as a biological parent in their absence so that I can take my step-son to a regular doctor's appointment or have access to his medical records if needed? A power-of-attorney or a health care proxy won't help me?

Steven R. Koense

Steven R. Koense


The later two wont help because you cannot sign them, and neither can the minor child. If there is a need for regular visits to the doctor during your husband's visits, there would seem to be a problem right there. Your husband should petition the court to ask the court to allow you to take him to a doctor's appointment BUT ONLY IF HE CANNOT. You have no rights, and the doctors should not even discuss anything.

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