Making Medical Decisions for Your Minor Child After a Divorce

Minor child after divorce

Divorce is hard, even when there are no children involved. But medical decisions for divorced parents can be swayed in court with the help of family law attorneys.

When you initially get divorced, the determination of custody typically determines which parent can make medical decisions for the child. There are definitely times when neither parent can agree with the terms of the agreement and the matter must be settled in court.

In these cases, the court will determine which outcome is in the best interest of the child. This will be explained in more detail below.

Sole custody

When you have sole custody of your child, you can make any and all medical decisions for the child. Any medical decision you make for your child does not need to involve the other parent. If an emergency occurs where the parent without custody must use urgent care services or emergency medical services and make medical decisions, the parent with sole custody must always be informed.

Sole custody is not awarded to very many parents. Many divorce cases where the parent is awarded sole custody are the result of some sort of negligence on the part of the other parent. In sole custody cases, the parent who does not have custody usually has supervised visits or short visitation.

Joint custody

Joint custody of minor children is the most common type of custodial agreement in a divorce. Often, you can find specific details about the custodial agreement and medical decisions in your divorce agreement.

When emergencies arise, each parent can make important decisions when they have guardianship of the child, on the spot, without consulting the other parent if they can’t be reached. Even so, the other parent must be informed of any and all emergency medical decisions as soon as possible. And everyday medical decisions must be agreed upon by both parents beforehand.


Conflicts do arise in all custody cases and must be worked out. If you cannot solve your conflicts of interest for the everyday medical care of your child, you must go back to court. Some of these conflicts include treatment options and minor surgeries.

You must be very careful in these proceedings, because the judge may rule and change the terms of custody for your child based on your medical stance. Always consult a lawyer before going back to court to protect the best interests of your child. In court, the judge often appoints a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is a neutral third party who is just interested in the best medical interests of the child.

When it comes to divorce, at the onset of irreconcilable differences, there are a lot of emotions and feelings. If you’re having an issue with the other parent of your child, the first thing you should do is review the terms of your divorce. Sometimes having a civil conversation and sharing why you think certain decisions are in the best interest of your child can solve conflicts between parents.

But this isn’t always the case, and if you must return to court, ensure that you’ve got a lawyer in your corner to defend your stance. Going back to court can be unpredictable and reverse certain rulings depending on how the judge views the case. In either situation, getting counsel from an attorney or retaining an attorney will be in the best interest of you and your child.

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