Custody Agreements and Emergency Medical Situations: How to PrepareBy Moskowitz Law Group, LLC |
While a primary parental responsibility is ensuring your child is safe and cared for, there are some medical situations that a parent may not be able to predict or prevent. When the parents of a child are separated or divorced, it can be difficult to collaborate and communicate about medical decisions. Planning for emergency medical situations is imperative for the safety of your child. Learn more about custody agreements and emergency medical situations.
Understanding Custody Agreements
There are two forms of custody: Physical and legal. Physical custody determines whether the child will reside primarily with one parent, only one parent, or share time with each parent equally. Legal custody is the right and responsibility to make major decisions affecting a child’s welfare. In many custody cases, legal and physical custody are shared between both parents.
Custody is determined by the courts based on several factors. In New Jersey, the court may sign off on an agreement created by the parents. In other cases, a judge will make the final decision on custody rights after litigation.
In joint legal custody situations, medical decisions must be made together, unless the court decides one parent should have the final say in medical matters. For example, in some arrangements, one parent will handle medical decisions, and the other will handle educational decisions.
Emergency Medical Situations
Having a plan for emergency medical situations before they arise is one of the most important parts of any custody arrangement. You and your co-parent should agree upon a plan in advance about what to do in the event of different types of medical emergencies.
If an emergency medical situation arises, and you do not have a plan, you can make emergency decisions for the child, but you should attempt to consult with their other parent and keep them updated on all the information you receive. Some circumstances do not provide enough time for consultation or deliberation. The safety of your child is more important than any disagreement you have with your co-parent.
Clear and open communication between parents who share joint legal custody is key to prevent or minimize disagreements. Of course, this is dependent on the details of your divorce or custody case and whether you can reasonably maintain this line of communication. Keep in mind these decisions are being made for your child, not you or the other parent.
If you still disagree, consult with the child’s doctor, ensuring any information is being communicated to both you and the other parent. A doctor may not be equipped to mediate parental disagreements, but having your child’s medical information and the doctor’s professional opinion can help.
You can also consult with a professional mediator who is trained to handle and help resolve these types of medical disputes. This should only be done if there is no emergency with enough time for discussion and the child’s life and health are not put in danger. When it comes down to it, your child’s health and wellbeing should always be the top priority.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney About Planning for Emergency Medical Situations
When you and your child’s other parent disagree on how to handle emergency medical situations, seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Speaking with a knowledgeable child custody attorney is the best way to ensure you know what to do when your child’s health is at risk, avoiding delays that could worsen the situation. Reach out to Moskowitz Law Group for help creating a plan that works for your family.