You’re an adult – what now?

18 years old is an incredibly significant milestone in your life!

In less than a week, we loaded up and move our daughter to college. It’s only 90 miles away, but she is the first to make this move for us. While the move is only 90 miles, a much bigger legal move took place that puts her much farther away from us than ever before. We (her parents) lost a lot of rights and access to our daughter’s life that prevented us from being able to help her the way that she and we wanted to. It’s important to know this information – before you need it!

So much anticipation, excitement, and nervousness. So many forms and things to put in place.

For so many years, my wife or I would fill-out forms without thinking twice. Now, every time we see one, I have to ask, “Should we complete this or should she?”

“She” is now a legal adult and has the legal right – in fact, in some cases, the legal obligation – to complete them. As a parent, we are not trying to do anything she is not aware of; instead, we are just making sure it gets done, like we have for the last 18 years.

Legally, anyone with the legal capacity to manage one’s own affairs becomes a legally, separate person in the eyes of much of the law.

I should know this – I do know this. I’m an attorney who has this specific conversation with clients every day!

However, in the excitement and anxiousness of putting everything in place, it slipped my mind that we are now cut out of a lot of our daughter’s essential information and decision-making. It was not such an issue when she is home every day. But now, we won’t see her every day or even every week.

There are any number of entities that do not see me as legally responsible for her actions. So, they do not have to, legally, inform me. In fact, in many instances, they have a legal responsibility to not tell me anything, unless my “legal adult” daughter gives specific permission for me to know things like:

her medical condition,why she was in the hospital,if she is in the hospital, oreven to talk to doctors to see if she is still there.

That’s just information.

I have no clear, automatic right, to tell the doctor to do or not to do something if my daughter cannot communicate for herself.


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