What if my co-parent and I can’t agree on medical decision making?
A joint custody arrangement between both ex-spouses is the ideal arrangement between couples who underwent a divorce. Of course, they want to give them a healthy family life, as much as possible. Both parents will also benefit since they can both have parental rights and have input into decision making about the raising of their child.
But a joint custody arrangement, though ideal, may not be easy. If the marriage ended on a bitter note, it may be difficult for both parents to maintain a civil relationship. They will disagree about certain matters and won’t see eye to eye when it comes to decisions about the child’s welfare. A common cause of disagreement is the child’s medical care.
Who Can Make Medical Decisions?
According to law, the parent who can exercise parental rights and responsibilities is the one who has legal custody. Legal custody can be either sole, where only one parent is granted parental rights, or joint, where both parents have parental rights.
In a joint custody arrangement, both parents have legal custodial rights and responsibilities of the child. That entails that both have a say in matters such as legal status, education, safety, extra-curricular activities, religion, medical care, and other major life decisions that concern the child.
What to do if you and your co-parent disagree on medical decisions?
If there is an order from the court granting legal custody to both parents, one party cannot take matters into his or her own hands without consulting the co-parent. So a problem arises if your ex isn’t complying or is constantly disagreeing with your medical decisions.
If this is the case, you can seek relief from the court under the grounds that you and your co-parent are not capable of making joint decisions, and you cannot both exercise legal custody of your child. The court will take a look at the facts and consider what is in the best interest of the child, as always. Ultimately, the court may award sole custody to one parent.
The best thing you can do is to hire a lawyer who can help you make wise and informed decisions regarding your child custody case.
A family lawyer will help you navigate Statute 14-10-124, which lays down the best interests factors of a child. The lawyer will look at the facts and match them with provisions in the statute to determine if you have a case strong enough to be argued in court.
These best interest factors are what the court will consider, so forming a strategy around those factors is your best option.