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What happens when co-parents disagree about medical care?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Family Law |

Parents who end their relationships with one another still have to cooperate for the sake of their children. It can be a real challenge to co-parent after a messy divorce or difficult breakup, but that is exactly what the state expects of you.

Many parents in Louisiana will eventually find a way to handle the challenges of dividing parenting time. However, when it comes to decision-making authority, cooperation may be particularly challenging for you and your ex.

Perhaps your child has started to display signs of depression or other mental health issues, but your ex has strong negative feelings about psychotherapy. Maybe the two of you disagree about immunizations. What happens when parents don’t agree about medical care for their children?

The custody order may give one parent the authority to make the choice

It is common for custody orders or parenting plans to give one parent the final say on certain matters for the children, such as what kind of healthcare they receive. Your custody order could very quickly resolve your disagreement by allowing one of you to claim the right to make that decision and to move forward with it.

However, if your ex has failed to get your children necessary medical treatment and you worry about their safety, you could always ask for a modification and the right to make those medical choices yourself.

What happens during a modification?

If you have to go back to court because there are issues with your custody order, a judge will have to review the existing order and then hear about the situation that you feel warrants a change to the existing custody arrangements. Evidence that your child requires medical care or that your ex has made questionable medical choices can help you convince a judge that giving you the authority to make those decisions would be what is best for your child.

Provided that a judge agrees that your ex has failed to act in the child’s best interests, changes to the order may be forthcoming following a contested modification hearing. In some cases, a parent engaging in medical neglect will lose not just decision-making authority but some of their parenting time as well.

Gathering evidence to support your claim of medical neglect or poor decision-making will be crucial as you pursue a change to your existing custody order.