Tips to Resolve Medical Care Disputes When Parents Share Custody

The pandemic has put parents in unprecedented positions in terms of caring for their children. One issue that may come to a head for many Floridians is how to keep a child safe in a COVID-19 world.

For instance, what if parents who share custody disagree on whether a child should wear a mask or get vaccinated? How do parents move forward when they are at odds when it comes to such critical matters?

Set the Rules Ahead of Time

If you have yet to finalize a parenting plan, discuss who will make medical-related decisions for a child. Per Florida laws, a plan can assign specific responsibilities to one parent even when they share custody.

If parents disagree on what is best for a child, a parenting plan can direct them on how to resolve the dispute. Terms could include requiring parents to mediate the dispute or identifying an individual who will be the final decision-maker.

Consult the Professionals

Discussing a medical issue with professionals can help parents make informed decisions and clear up misconceptions. Because while parents may be experts on their children, they may not be experts in medical and health-related issues.

Thus, consulting professionals can be crucial. They can talk to:

  • The child’s doctor
  • Other medical professionals
  • Child custody specialists
  • Mental health counselors
  • Family law attorneys

These parties can explain what could be in a child’s best interests from the medical and legal perspectives.

Take the Matter to Court

If parents still cannot decide what to do and it is interfering with custody or a child’s health, it may be necessary to go to the courts for a decision.

This is typically the last step, as it takes control of the issue away from parents and puts it in the hands of a judge. Each party makes their case, and then a judge hands down a ruling, with which parents must comply.

Going to court can also be an option if parties wish to modify a parenting plan so that one parent has the right to make medical decisions for a child.

Parenting after divorce can be complicated for parents, especially regarding sensitive issues like medical care. However, referring to your parenting plan, consulting professionals and taking legal action if necessary are all ways that can help parents reach a resolution.

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