We have discussed in previous blog posts the importance of you and your
ex-spouse exchanging information relating to the medical care and well-being
of your child. This is especially true if your child has to receive ongoing
medical attention for any reason. While it is easy to type this in a blog
post, and even easier for you to think that you are doing what you are
“supposed” to be doing as far as communication with your ex-spouse
is concerned it could be that you do not know exactly what you need to
be talking to your ex-spouse about, exactly.
Essential information to discuss with your ex-spouse regarding your child’s
Your ex-spouse should know if any new diagnoses have come about as a result
of your child treating with a medical provider. This diagnosis will allow
your ex-spouse to learn what your child is going through and how to care
for your child better as a result. Also, if your ex-spouse is going to
another appointment with a treating provider this information can be helpful
to plan for a new course of treatment.
Your ex-spouse needs to know about any and all prescriptions that your
child is taking. This means locations where the prescriptions can be refilled,
the correct dosages, side effects and purpose of each medication.
What is the treatment plan for your child and how can your ex-spouse contribute
to its success? If you are the primary conservator of your child it may
be that you attend the majority of doctor’s appointments with him
or her. Your ex-spouse is likely entitled under your Final Decree of Divorce
to receiving information about your child’s medical treatment just
as you are from your ex-spouse.
How to go about getting a second opinion for your child
You and your ex-spouse need to be involved in obtaining a second opinion
in relation to your child’s health care needs. In some cases, either
you or your ex-spouse may not be entitled to have a say in this matter
due to what is ordered in your final decree of divorce. In these situations
it is important to share information as we stated in the prior section
of this blog but only to the extent that your final decree of divorce
permits or good sense requires.
However, in the event that your final decree of divorce does not bar either
parent from having a say in the medical treatment of your child you should
always notify your ex-spouse before taking your child to get a second
opinion from a physician outside of their treatment network. If you are
the parent wanting to get the second opinion then it makes sense that
you would pay for that doctor appointment on your own.
If it is appropriate, you and your ex-spouse should attend the appointment
with the doctor together. This will allow both of you to receive the same
information and updates. Make sure to have all of your child’s treating
providers send along medical records for the physician to review prior
to treating your child. This will encourage dialogue between your child’s
primary physician and the second opinion provider. Whatever results are
received from the provider of the second opinion, they should be sent
along to the primary physician immediately.
Emergency situations involving the health and well being of your child
If there is an emergency situation that has arisen for your child then
it is most likely not possible to give timely updates as they arise to
your ex-spouse. However, once you have an opportunity to do so contact
your ex-spouse so that he or she can be aware of what is happening with
your child. Make sure you communicate the nature of the emergency, where
your child is currently and any contact information for a doctor or hospital
that you have available to you.
With this being said, if an emergency occurs you will not want to have
to deal with insurance logistics and other issues at that time. Before
you get into a situation like this make sure you and your ex-spouse have
access to insurance ID cards, policy numbers, group numbers and the name
of the organization that the insurance comes from. Your final decree of
divorce likely requires this, but it is good practice to do so regardless
of if you are ordered to do so by a court or not.
Final words on communications regarding school
Again, whether it is health care related items or school related items,
conflicts can be avoided and your child can benefit from better communication
between you and your ex-spouse. You and your ex-spouse are likely able
to receive updates from one another and from the school directly on issues
regarding your child’s education. Make sure you do so individually
as well as a unit. The school should be aware of your and your ex-spouse’s
situation as being parents who are able and willing to engage in co-parenting
This includes information as basic as where your child is attending school
and the location of that school. This may seem extreme, but I have had
clients in the past who have had their child enrolled in multiple schools
in a given semester. These clients often times don’t know whether
or not their child is enrolled in school, not to mention which school
their child may be attending.
You and your spouse should be named as emergency contacts at the school
and should be able to pick your child up in the event of an emergency
unless your final decree of divorce bars this type of set-up. If you think
you are being sly by taking your ex-spouse’s name off of a list
because you are the primary conservator of your child then you have another
thing coming. That type of petty behavior can land you back in court facing
a judge and an enforcement lawsuit brought by your ex-spouse.
Getting back to the Golden Rule
The bottom line is that you and your ex-spouse are teammates. At one point
you chose to be on the same team by getting married and you then doubled
down on that choice by choosing to have a child together. Now that you
have made another choice- this time to divorce one another- that does
not invalidate the second choice to have a child together. Show your love
for your child by having an abundance of respect and tolerance for your
ex-spouse. Your child will thank you.
Questions about post-divorce life? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
Adjusting to life raising a child as a single adult is difficult. The attorneys at the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan recognize these difficulties and want you to know that we are here to
help you. If you have questions about this transition time or anything
else related to living a successful life after divorce please
contact our office today.
Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet
with you for a free of charge consultation. We represent clients across
southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about the services
that we can provide you and your family with as a client of our office.