Parents have to share their responsibilities for their children even if their relationship with one another ends. The parenting plan or custody order that you create during a divorce outlines each of your responsibilities to the children. You also have obligations to each other, such as the obligation to share formation about the children with one another.
Responsibilities that may have once fallen only to one of the parents now become the shared responsibility of both. When each parent has independent parenting time with the children, they will be fully responsible for the children during their time. That might mean that medical issues arise that require your attention.
Who has the authority to make decisions about the children’s health care after a divorce?
Texas law authorizes parents to make decisions when they have custody
If your child has a migraine or suffers a mild burn, you have the authority during your parenting time to make decisions about what health care they receive. However, state law specifies that this authority only applies to non-invasive medical procedures unless there is an emergency.
If something significant happens and your child requires extensive medical care, you can make the decisions that are immediately necessary on your own. Still, early communication with your ex would be appropriate in such a scenarios. For long-term care, the parents will have to discuss the needs of the child and hopefully arrive at an agreement regarding what care a child receives.
What if you don’t agree?
Sometimes, for personal or religious reasons, parents may disagree about what treatment would be appropriate. In such a situation, parents can defer to their parenting plan or custody order. It may specifically allocate authority to one parent to make decisions when there is a disagreement or name a physician to serve as the tie-breaker in a situation involving an intense disagreement.
For those who cannot abide by the decisions their ex makes about care, going back to court to clarify the matter or modify your parenting plan may be the only way to resolve that intense disagreement. Learning about Texas custody laws and following the rules outlined in your parenting plan will make co-parenting a less contentious experience for your family.