In November 2011 the Wisconsin legislature passed legislation allowing a parent with legal custody rights the ability to delegate their authority, through a Power of Attorney Delegating Parental Powers, to a third party without the need to involve the court system or social services. The purpose of the legislation is to allow parents, for no longer than 12 months, to designate temporary decision and care-taking responsibilities to another adult during a parent’s absence without having to file a court action and ask the court to give this authority to a third party.
There are several reasons parents may consider delegating their parental authority to another, such as, military deployment, incarceration, or a child may simply be involved in an educational or sporting activity away from home. It was common practice for parents to have a family member or other trusted person care for their children but not obtain any court authority allowing those persons to exercise parental authority creating problems for caretakers because they had no legal authority to make health care or educational decisions that might arise during the period of time they were caring for the children
Divorced parents with legal custody rights do not need to worry that the other parent will allocate parental authority to a step-parent, girlfriend/boyfriend, relative or other person without their knowledge or consent. The law requires that a power of attorney delegating parental powers to a third party must be signed by both parents if both parents have legal custody rights.