When you name a power of attorney, you give that individual an incredible amount of authority to act on your behalf in certain situations. From selling property and renewing insurance policies to paying bills and collecting financial benefits, a power of attorney can perform many tasks for you when necessary. Did you know that they may also be able to file for a divorce on your behalf?

In Gilbreath v. Gilbreath, the plaintiff’s son filed for a divorce for her while acting in a power of attorney capacity. This case is unique because it does not fall into the categories of the usual power of attorney tasks. To determine if this is an option for you or your loved one, you will want to discuss your situation with an expert in Texas divorce law. Leslie A. Werner of The Werner Law Group has decades of experience fighting for her clients’ best interests. Her ability to research the power of the case law in our clients cases is uncanny.

What is a Power of Attorney? 

This is a legal document that gives someone the right and authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. A power of attorney can provide broad or specific powers, but the most commonly inclueded and executed powers are:

  • Handling financial accounts;
  • Selling real estate;
  • Writing and cashing checks;
  • Paying bills;
  • Filing taxes; and
  • Making investment decisions.

“When” a power of attorney is initiated plays a significant role in how that person can be involved in certain matters. For instance, if the designation becomes effective when you are incapacitated, that will cause the timing of events to be carefully considered in legal proceedings. 

Texas Statute defines incapacitation for these purposes as being incapable of managing affairs, which is a vague description. This qualification can be met by obtaining a letter from a doctor in many cases. 

Legal Filings and Powers of Attorney

The Form of Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, as provided by Texas Statute, lists all the types of powers that can be granted, which include claims and litigation. This suggests that a power of attorney would be allowed to file for a divorce on your behalf if you were incapacitated and unable to do so, which is what occurred in Gilbreath v. Gilbreath. This seems straightforward in theory, but it becomes much more complicated in practice. Knowing what your rights are and what is allowed under Texas law can be difficult on your own. Similarly, an opposing party in a power of attorney brought divorce will fight tooth and nail to have the divorce dismissed. You will need an attorney who is comfortable standing up to the opposing party and arguing on your behalf armed with proper case law.

The Werner Law Group’s family law department is for a consultation or text Leslie Werner at 361-648-6888 for immediate assistance.