Health and happiness is what most parents wish for when it comes to their
children. If you could tell me that my children would grow up to be happy
and healthy I would tell you that sounds pretty darn good. The health
of your children is your first priority no matter what stage you are in
your life, or they are in their own lives.
When there are issues related to your child’s health then there may
arise problems between you and your ex-spouse in the years after your
divorce has concluded. Your ability to work with your ex-spouse can not
only contribute to better lines of
communication between the two of you but can also positively impact the health and safety
of your children.
Today’s blog post from the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan will discuss this important subject in detail. It’s easy enough
to come up with a goal of being able to better communicate with your ex-spouse
about the medical issues of your children but how do you work towards
doing so? The information that we will share with you all should go a
long way towards doing so.
Consistency and Stability
When you and your spouse first divorced it was probably discussed amongst
yourselves how important it was to create an environment where there were
some aspects of your children’s lives that would not change despite
the divorce. Of course some changes would be unavoidable, but if you and
your ex-spouse could work together to come up with some things that would
remain the same for your children it would offer a sense of consistency
and stability that was otherwise missing from their lives.
This consistency and stability should extend to the medical care of your
children as well. If your child has an ongoing medical condition that
had been in place while you were still married to one another, it should
go without saying that allowing your child to continue to treat with the
physician that had been caring for your child throughout their life.
In some situations it does become necessary for a child to move some distance
from their home after a divorce. This means inevitably that parts of their
“former” lives must get left behind as well. This includes
doctors and the support system that the child had become accustomed to,
While situations like this are often unavoidable, that doesn’t mean
that a change to a new medical provider has to create upheaval. For instance,
you can check with your child’s physician during the divorce to
let him or her know about the change that will be upcoming and if a move
to a new area or city is necessary. The doctor may be part of a network
of physicians that treat patients in your new area. Ask him or her for
a recommendation. If you are the parent setting this meeting up make sure
that your ex-spouse is notified of the meeting and has an opportunity
to attend if he or she is able.
Secondly, if you and your ex-spouse believe that a change in your child’s
medical provider is in their best interest it is fine to change the doctor
as long as you have a new one selected prior to leaving the prior physician.
To cut ties with a doctor’s office only to spend months selecting
a new treating provider would make absolutely no sense and would eliminate
any sense of consistency and stability in your child’s medical treatment.
Speak to your ex-spouse about this decision and make sure that you are
both on board with doing so. Attempting to unilaterally make this sort
of decision can be disastrous for you, your ex-spouse and most importantly
for your child.
How to handle your child being referred to see a specialist
One of the nice things about having a physician treat your child whom you
and your ex-spouse have a lot of trust in that physician’s treatment
regimen for your child as well as for their ability to recommend and refer
your child to other physicians whom may be able to offer treatment in
certain specialized areas. In this way your physicians acts like a quarterback-
sending assignments out to other players on your child’s medical
team. When everyone works together, the goals of the team can be accomplished.
These specialist physicians will send reports back to your main physician
who will confer with the specialists on courses of treatment and other
subject matter relevant to your child. However, if you and your child
are on a vacation and your child suffers a health related incident that
requires care in an emergency room those reports may not make their way
back to your main physician at home. This can cause problems in diagnosing
what is wrong with your child and ensuring that it does not happen again.
Communication breakdowns can lead to medical problems for your child
Another situation that can lead to disunity among the medical community
treating your child is when you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree
on a primary care provider for your child and each of you end up taking
your child to two different physicians. In some situations this is a necessity,
however. If you and your ex-spouse reside a long ways apart it may not
make sense for your ex-spouse to drive hundreds of miles to your town
for your child to see his or her primary care doctor. In that situation
it would make more sense to have your child see a different doctor if
only for convenience’s sake.
Even if there is justification for your child having more than one primary
care physician that is not an excuse for there not to be communication
regarding all aspects of your child’s treatment network. In a situation
where your child is treating even semi-regularly with a doctor who is
not their primary care physician it is important that you or your ex-spouse
make sure that whatever medical reports are being generated are sent to
the primary care doctor so that the “quarterback” knows what
play to call next.
Parents both attending the medical appointments of a child
I was at a doctor’s appointment for my daughter a few weeks ago when
I overheard a woman in the parking lot talking on her cell phone. The
woman was repeating that she hated to call the constables out, but “he”
was acting belligerently. By time my daughter and I got out from her appointment
there were constables inside the doctor’s office speaking to a man
who I assumed was the “he” the woman was speaking about. This
was pretty clearly divorced parents getting into an argument at the doctor’s
appointment for a child.
You and your ex-spouse will both want to fully engage in your child’s
life even after the divorce. You may just be putting up with one another
and that’s fine. Nobody said it has to be honey and sunshine between
the two of you. However, this can lead to issues like the one I mentioned
above when both of you are present in a doctor’s office with your
child. A doctor’s office is fully able to create rules for the safety
and well being of not only your child but for their other patients. That
may mean that if you and your ex-spouse get into a dispute of some sort
that you both will not be allowed to attend treatment sessions together.
More on issues regarding medical care to be posted tomorrow in our blog
Caring for your child’s well being is job number one of you, your
ex-spouse, the court that oversaw your
divorce as well as your child’s network of medical providers. If you have
a child with ongoing medical problems you will want to come back tomorrow
to read more on this subject.
In the meantime, if you have questions related to your child’s medical
are after your divorce please
Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available to meet with you six
days a week for a free of charge consultation.