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When you and your ex disagree about a child’s medical care

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Child Custody

Shared custody is a relatively normal arrangement. You and your ex have shared responsibility for your children after divorce or the end of a non-marital relationship. Parenting responsibilities include the obligation to be physically present with the children at certain times. One of you may also pay child support to help financially support the children.

Even if you can handle your co-parenting schedule without conflicts, you may disagree about other crucial parenting decisions. For example, you might have a significant disagreement about what medical care your children should receive. Issues ranging from preventative care to mental health matters can divide parents and pit them against each other when there is a major disagreement about the right way to treat or care for a child.

Your education levels, religions and personal experiences may give you different opinions about what medical care your children need. How can you resolve a conflict about medical treatment for your kids?

Review your custody order

Most Massachusetts parenting plans include terms regarding legal custody. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions about children, including what healthcare they received.

Some parents have shared physical custody but only one parent has legal decision authority. Other times, parents share. Typically, when you share legal custody, you either need to agree on major choices or let one parent have the final say in certain matters.

If you feel strongly that your ex’s medical choices are not in the best interests of your children and you lack the authority to make the final choice, what can you do?

Ask for a modification

When there are serious conflicts about what is best for your children, you may family law judge to weigh in on the matter. A judge can potentially grant you more decision-making authority or make a decision on a specific dispute, like whether your child requires the HPV immunization.

The courts also have the authority to issue an injunction and prevent one parent from taking certain steps that could do damage to the children. Gathering evidence to show that your medical preferences are what would be best for the children can help you convince your ex or the courts to make specific choices when you have a shared custody arrangement.