On behalf of John Dorris of Dorris Law Group posted in Stepparents’ Rights on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.

Arizona residents may wonder whether or not stepparents ever have the authority to give consent for medical treatment their child can receive. The parameters governing the right to consent and the refusal to consent are often one of the primary concerns of anyone who becomes a stepparent. Generally speaking, stepparents are not granted legal consent over a child’s medical care unless they legally adopted the child.

However, legal guardians and parents do have the power to draft a document that authorizes a third party to consent to medical care for their child. This documentation should be authorized by the parent’s signature, and a copy ought to be stored along with the child’s medical records. If there is no consent form available in an emergency situation, the minor may still receive treatment if they are suffering significant pain or need a diagnosis immediately.

Even if a parent cannot be reached, a child will be treated if the failure to provide immediate diagnosis or treatment will result in any significant disabilities or death. Since children in these situations face serious injuries that could otherwise be prevented, the consent is presumed. However, even without legal authorization over medical consent, most stepparents are still responsible for providing the child with adequate medical care. Families typically benefit when they draft a statement that authorizes the stepparent to provide medical consent in nonemergency situations.

Anyone interested in learning more about stepparents’ rights might benefit from contacting a lawyer. Legal counsel might be prepared to review the particular circumstances and recommend the most advantageous course of action going forward. Lawyers typically assist families with preparing the documentation and ensuring that it is legally binding.