How to deal with medical disputes involving a child

Co-parenting with a difficult ex is certainly not easy. You may have fights about what type of entertainment they may be exposed to, as well as what rules should be enforceable in each other’s homes. But what parents should not fight about (but unfortunately they do) is how their children should be treated by doctors.

There are situations where a parent may want the kids to see a doctor who offices close to where the parent lives, or does not want the kids seen by a particular physician. Even more complicated, a parent may not be very responsible in making sure a child takes their medicine, or may even refuse to provide it because he or she disagrees with the doctor’s recommendations.

In these situations, what is a parent supposed to do?

Reviewing your custody decree can be a good place to start. A parent who has legal custody of a child has a right to participate in the decision-making process about their child’s medical care. This means that they can make decisions about what type of medical treatment the child receives, including prescription medicines, surgeries and even dental care.

A parent who has joint legal custody shares this responsibility with the other parent. A parent who has sole legal custody has the exclusive right to make these decisions.

So if your ex is interfering in medical decision-making, perhaps a motion to change custody may be in order. After all, a parent’s failure to provide needed medicines could lead to a change in custody. 

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