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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 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 medical treatment

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 techniques.

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, 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 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.


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