New Jersey Court Ruling: Adult Children With Power of Attorney Not Welcome in Elderly Parent’s Divorce

With life expectancies among today’s senior citizens longer than ever, more and more adult children are finding themselves sharing the responsibility of caring for their aging and elderly parents, including taking part in their parents’ legal and financial affairs as an appointed Power of Attorney. Holding Power of Attorney can be helpful when it comes to making decisions concerning medical billing or nursing home payments. But what happens if an elderly parent decides to divorce?

A recently published opinion from New Jersey’s Ocean County Superior Court examined the novel question of whether or not a litigant in divorce proceedings could appear and testify through an attorney-in-fact designated by Power of Attorney (POA). The court declined to allow this, for multiple reasons, and presented some clear guidelines for parties and attorneys to follow if presented with similar situations in the future. The case, Marsico v. Marsico, involved an adult daughter holding POA for her elderly father who had been sued for divorce by his second wife. Read more