Parents who share custody have to split their time with their children and also agree with one another on important parenting decisions. You will have to talk about medical treatment and the educational future of your children.
After you divorce, it may be very difficult for you to reach a mutual agreement on matters related to your children. Some parents become oppositional because of their feelings about the other parent and have a hard time rationally handling parenting matters. If you address future decision-making issues in your parenting plan, you will be less likely to have delays when a child needs medical treatment and will have fewer disputes related to the choices that you make.
What kinds of health care issues potentially discuss when drafting a parenting plan?
1. Orthodontia and elective treatment
There are many forms of health care that are not strictly necessary for someone’s physical survival. Getting braces in middle school can mean entering adulthood with excellent oral health, but many people dismiss tooth straightening as cosmetic.
Rather than waiting for your dentist to declare that your child needs braces to discuss this multi-thousand-dollar investment, you may need to talk about it as you put together your parenting plan so that you have an agreement about how you would share the costs. Other elective health care, like mental health counseling, may also need to be part of your parenting plan so that you can fairly share the costs involved.
2. Preventative medicine
Grade school children and those finishing high school may require certain kinds of preventative health care. Immunizations are an example. Some people have very strong political or religious opinions related to specific immunizations, and it would likely be better to address those matters now rather than to fight about them when your child needs health care in the future.
Especially when one parent provides the children’s health insurance, they could cause conflicts if they try to impose their medical wishes on the entire family. Rather than leaving your family open to major conflict later, it is often a smarter approach to those issues when negotiating your parenting plan to ensure the issues won’t cause conflict for your family later.
Including the right terms in your parenting plan or custody order can help minimize your co-parenting challenges later.