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What if divorced parents disagree on medical decisions? 

On Behalf of | May 8, 2021 | Family Law

Parents make medical decisions on the behalf of their young children. Everything from deciding what doctor to use to choosing what vaccines the child will get is legally up to the parents. 

This can grow complicated when parents disagree on what decisions to make or what outcomes they want. It gets even more complex if those parents are also divorced. What do you do if you and your ex can’t agree on something?

Do you share legal custody?

First and foremost, you need to know who has legal custody of your children. This is different than physical custody. It refers to the ability to make these legal (and medical) decisions. 

It is often divided jointly between parents, but not always. If you have sole legal custody, even if you share physical custody, then you do not have to worry about what your ex wants. You are allowed to make the decisions that you want, and they cannot legally stop you from doing so. They may not be happy with your decisions, but they are yours to make. 

If you do share legal custody, though, you both get equal rights. You cannot go against your ex’s wishes without violating their rights, and they cannot go against your wishes without violating yours. You need to come to an agreement or a compromise. 

What if no agreement can be reached?

If you cannot agree with your co-parent on important issues like your child’s medical care despite your best efforts, you may need to involve the court. A judge will need to decide by focusing on the best interests of the child. When complicated child custody issues develop, it pays to have some experienced guidance.