Can my sibling sue me for visitation rights for our mother?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 16, 2016
Mdunham asked...

Can my sibling sue me for visitation rights (to visit my mother) if I have legal power of attorney over my mother? I do not want my sibling near my mother as she has been abusive to my mother.

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Truth is, in our sadly litigious world, anyone can pretty much sue anyone else for pretty much any reason. But whether or not a lawsuit succeeds depends on the specific facts involved, the specific laws that control—and sometimes, something as arbitrary as the mood of the judge hearing the case.

A sibling who believes that you are abusing your power or not acting with your mother's best interests in mind can go to court and ask to have you removed or to order you to change your behavior. And you should know from the getgo that courts are generally hesitant to bar a sibling from having contact with a parent.

What should control is what matters most: your mother's best interest. For example, if she longs to see your sibling, you might be able to arrange to have visits between the two of them that are supervised by another objective person.

If, however, you have strong evidence that your sibling has abused your mother, it may be in your mother's best interests to have a court intercede to assure that she is protected. You can discuss the situation confidentially and find out possible options at the National Center on Elder Abuse , which offers a free hotline and links to many local resources that can offer more help.