How should co-parents handle disagreements about medical care?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Divorce

Co-parenting is a challenge, but many adults find a way to work cooperatively for the benefit of their children. Co-parents generally need to work together to meet their children’s needs. Parents who share responsibility for their children will occasionally need to reach mutually-agreeable solutions to important challenges concerning education, healthcare and even religious practice.

Parents frequently disagree about the best medical treatment for their children or even what school they should attend. Who gets to make the decision about education and healthcare in a co-parenting situation when a mutually-agreeable solution isn’t immediately apparent?

Most parents will need to work together

Time-sharing arrangements typically also mean that parents have to communicate with one another about their children and reach agreements on major issues. Parents usually share decision-making authority over their children, which means they need to agree on important decisions.

When it comes to medical care, either parent can arrange for emergency treatment or for a child to receive mental health support. However, decisions with long-term implications should have the input of both parents whenever possible. A parent hoping to have a child undergo elective surgery or receive other major medical care should discuss the child’s care needs with the other parent before taking action whenever possible. The same would be true of a parent making major educational changes.

What happens when parents don’t agree?

Whether the children participate in certain sports and when they receive certain immunizations we’ll typically be choices that the parents discuss together so that they can reach an agreement. Unfortunately, there may be some parents who strongly disagree with one another about the right kind of healthcare for their children or what school they should attend.

In such scenarios, it may be necessary to go back to family court. When parents do not agree, the situation will need to have changed significantly for the courts to consider a contested modification request. A judge could grant one parent more decision-making authority in cases where such changes are clearly necessary for the safety and well-being of a child.

Understanding when to modify or enforce a parenting plan can help parents who are struggling to navigate time-sharing arrangements and the structure of their overall co-parenting arrangement. As long as such action will benefit the children in the family, a parent may be right to seek legal guidance in moving forward in this way.