I recently had a client (custodial parent) ask me if they had to release their child to the non-custodial parent if the non-custodial parent was going to be out of town and was having another person pick up the child.

The short answer to this question is yes, you must release the child if there is language in the order that allows the parents to transfer the child via a competent adult.  Most standard language in orders across the state include language allowing parents (custodial and non-custodial) to allow a competent adult to transfer the child in the event that the parent can’t do it.  Here is the specific language:

Designation of Competent Adult

Each conservator may designate any competent adult to pick up and return the child, as applicable.  IT IS ORDERED that a conservator or a designated competent adult be present when the child is picked up or returned.

Parents who designate competent adults to transfer children have the ability to do so if their order contains this language.  Courts discourage parents from allowing non-parents to exercise the periods of possession.  This can be dealt with by inserting a right of first refusal in to an order that prohibits parents from allowing non-family members from exercising possession of the child for a number of hours without the parent actually being present.  The right of first refusal has nothing to do with designating a competent adult for transfers.

If you have questions regarding designating a competent adult in your current order please feel free to call Newberry Law, PLLC for advice.