I have been asked several times as to whether a step-parent can consent or take a child to receive medical care. Usually, the other parent is objecting to the client’s new spouse taking the child to the doctor. Well, this is what the Texas Family Code states:

SUBCHAPTER A. CONSENT TO MEDICAL, DENTAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, AND SURGICAL TREATMENT

Sec. 32.001. CONSENT BY NON-PARENT. (a) The following persons may consent to medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child when the person having the right to consent as otherwise provided by law cannot be contacted and that person has not given actual notice to the contrary:

(1) a grandparent of the child;
(2) an adult brother or sister of the child;
(3) an adult aunt or uncle of the child;
(4) an educational institution in which the child is enrolled that has received written authorization to consent from a person having the right to consent;
(5) an adult who has actual care, control, and possession of the child and has written authorization to consent from a person having the right to consent;
(6) a court having jurisdiction over a suit affecting the parent-child relationship of which the child is the subject;
(7) an adult responsible for the actual care, control, and possession of a child under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court or committed by a juvenile court to the care of an agency of the state or county; or
(8) a peace officer who has lawfully taken custody of a minor, if the peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe the minor is in need of immediate medical treatment.

(b) The Texas Youth Commission may consent to the medical, dental, psychological, and surgical treatment of a child committed to it under Title 3 when the person having the right to consent has been contacted and that person has not given actual notice to the contrary.

(c) This section does not apply to consent for the immunization of a child.

(d) A person who consents to the medical treatment of a minor under Subsection (a)(7) or (8) is immune from liability for damages resulting from the examination or treatment of the minor, except to the extent of the person’s own acts of negligence. A physician or dentist licensed to practice in this state, or a hospital or medical facility at which a minor is treated is immune from liability for damages resulting from the examination or treatment of a minor under this section, except to the extent of the person’s own acts of negligence.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, eff. April 20, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 32.002. CONSENT FORM.

(a) Consent to medical treatment under this subchapter must be in writing, signed by the person giving consent, and given to the doctor, hospital, or other medical facility that administers the treatment.

(b) The consent must include:

(1) the name of the child;
(2) the name of one or both parents, if known, and the name of any managing conservator or guardian of the child;
(3) the name of the person giving consent and the person’s relationship to the child;
(4) a statement of the nature of the medical treatment to be given; and
(5) the date the treatment is to begin.

As one can see, the best approach is for the parent, that is a joint managing conservator with the other parent, to sign a written consent naming their new spouse, a/k/a step-parent as a person who has the permission to consent to medical treatment. This written consent should be given to the doctor’s office and the ex-spouse. But notice, that the statute specifically excludes immunizations from this consent authority.