What is a Delegation of Parental Authority (DOPA)?
A Delegation of Parental Authority (DOPA) is a document that lets someone take care of your children when you can't. DOPAs are good when you are going out of the state or county for any reason. It can be part of vacation planning or if you are facing deportation or jail.
Read the Delegation of Parental Authority (DOPA) Fact Sheet to learn more about DOPAs.
What Information Do You Need?
You will need certain information to finish the interview. This includes:
- The name and home county of the person who will care for your child
- The county where you will get your form notarized
- Any expiration date (less than one year) you want to set for your DOPA form
Will Your Child Live in Another State?
If the person who is going to take care of your child lives in another state, find out if that state has a form like Minnesota's DOPA (most do) and fill that out, too. Start looking for other states' forms at www.LawHelp.org.
Does Your Child Have Another Living Parent?
If your child has another living parent (biological or through adoption), you have to tell that person about the DOPA. You only have 30 days from the day you get the DOPA notarized to tell them.
You DO NOT have to tell the other parent about the DOPA if:
- he or she has no visitation rights,
- he or she has supervised visitation rights, OR
- you have (or your child has) an Order for Protection in place against him or her
If the other parent does not fit into any of those categories, you have to tell him or her about the DOPA. You can change your mind and cancel a DOPA at any time. Talk to a lawyer before you use this form if:
- The other parent wants custody of your child, or
- Your child will be living in another state, or
- The other parent is spending time with your child, and the new home will make that more difficult, or
- You have any questions about whether a DOPA is best for you and your child.
Find a legal aid attorney for people with low incomes, or contact a private attorney.