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Medical Decision-Making for Divorced Parents

 Posted on July 05, 2024 in Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

IL family lawyerDeciding what type of medical and mental health care your child should receive is an important parental responsibility. If you and your spouse are always in agreement about what kind of care your child should have, allocating this parental responsibility might be fairly easy. Sharing the duty - and right - to sign medical consent forms for your child is the logical solution. However, if you and the other parent have major disagreements about important issues like whether to vaccinate your child or whether she should see a therapist, you might have a more difficult time allocating medical decision-making duties. A court may need to step in and make this decision for you. An experienced Naperville, IL parental responsibilities attorney can help you fight to do what is best for your child.

Common Disagreements About a Child’s Medical Care

Having very different opinions about medical science and what kind of care a child should be able to receive is sometimes the reason parents are getting divorced. Common medical issues affecting children parents disagree on include: 

  • Vaccines - If one parent wants her young child to receive all recommended vaccines and the other does not believe in vaccinations, this can become a very heated conflict. Compromise may be impossible if one parent is against vaccines entirely. One parent will need to be allocated the responsibility of deciding whether and when to consent to which vaccine on the child’s behalf. Parents may need to go to court on this issue. 
  • Mental health care - If one parent is in favor of taking the child to see a therapist or providing psychiatric medication and the other parent is strongly against involving a child psychology team, the parents will need to either come to an agreement or take this issue to court. Compromise through mediation may be possible. The parents may agree to a trial period with or without mental health care or agree to try therapy alone for a while to determine what is in the child’s best interest. 
  • Medical tests and procedures - Parents may have different opinions about whether and when a certain test or elective procedure is necessary. One parent may feel it is best to avoid putting the child through medical procedures unless it is absolutely necessary, while the other may prefer to err on the side of caution and have any recommended tests done. Parents will need to decide in advance whether one parent can consent to tests and procedures alone or whether both need to agree before anything is done. 

Making decisions about your child’s care can be challenging when each parent holds a different viewpoint. You will need a skilled parenting plans attorney to help you reach an agreement or to represent you during a hearing in the event that you cannot agree.

Contact a Naperville, IL Parental Responsibilities Lawyer 

Calabrese Associates, P.C. is skilled in helping parents resolve complex disputes about their children’s medical and mental health care. Experienced DuPage County, IL parenting plans attorney Michael J. Calabrese has represented parents in divorce cases since 1994. Contact us at 630-393-3111 for a confidential consultation.

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