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Communicating with an ex-spouse regarding your child's medical treatment

We have discussed in previous blog posts the importance of you and your ex-spouse exchanging information relating to your child's medical care and well-being. 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 medical treatment

Your ex-spouse should know if any new diagnoses have come about due to your child treating by 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 prescriptions that your child is taking. This means locations where the drugs 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 them. Your ex-spouse is likely entitled to receive information about your child's medical treatment under your Final Decree of Divorce 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 about 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 essential 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, suppose your final decree of divorce does not bar either parent from having a say in your child's medical treatment. In that case, 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 want to get a second opinion, then it makes sense that you would pay for that doctor's 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 with medical records for the physician to review before treating your child. This will encourage dialogue between your child's primary physician and the second opinion provider. Whatever results are received from the second opinion provider, they should be sent along to the primary physician immediately.

Emergencies involving the health and well being of your child

If an emergency has arisen for your child, then it is most likely not possible to give timely updates as they appear to your ex-spouse. However, once you have an opportunity to do so, contact your ex-spouse so that they 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 healthcare-related 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 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 parents who are able and willing to engage in co-parenting techniques.

This includes information as essential 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 frequently 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 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, PLLC

Adjusting to life raising a child as a single adult is difficult. The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, recognize these difficulties and want to know that we are here to help you. If you have questions about this transition time or anything related to living a successful life after divorce, don't hesitate to get in touch with 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 we can provide you and your family as a client of our office.

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