Who POA’s rights – a wife or mistress?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Who POA’s rights – a wife or mistress?

After 10 years of marriage, my sister and her husband had separated. It was on bad terms but they have forgiven one another and agreed to co-parent their 10 year old son. The family only knows of the conflicts they had, not the resolution they had come to. The husband has suffered a stroke and is incapacitated. She is currently in the hospital where they are stating that the mistress nor his mother have POA, however she is not allowed to see her husband unless the mother or mistress allows her to. The hospital states they are trying to work it out for all to visit him. She and their son have seen him for 10 minutes and the mistress and his family have been there all night and all morning. My sister is not trying to prevent them from visiting him or anything near it. She just wants her time to visit with their son as he stated he did not want to go in the room without his mother but the mistress won’t leave the room.

Asked on June 21, 2016 under Family Law, North Carolina


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No one has a POA rights unless the husband signed a document specifically giving someone a POA.  It's not an automatic right.
However, as a spouse, the spouse and parent of a child of the husband, wife's rights should be superior to the mistress.  The mistress' rights are no greater than a person who walked off the street.  If the wife really does want to get in, she may file an action with the courts to obtain access.   It's a little extreme... but if the hospital continues to exclude wife (and therefore son), it may be necessary.

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