Parents Disputing Healthcare Decision-Making for Children
Parents Should Work Together for Their Child’s Well-Being, But Challenges can Arise when Facing Medical Decisions in Haledon, Fort Lee, Caldwell, Clifton, and Throughout Northern New Jersey.
Parents who have joint custody of their child work together to ensure that child’s well-being. If they share residential custody, the child either spends equal time with both parents or the parents have a parenting time arrangement by which the non-custodial parent gets quality time with their child. If the parents have joint legal custody, they each have the right to be involved in decision-making regarding major choices that impact the child’s upbringing, such as medical care, education, and religion. Collaborating with a co-parent isn’t always an easy bargain, but it pays off in supporting the best interests of the child. What do you do, though, when you and your child’s other parent share legal decision-making power but you don’t agree? What if compromise simply can’t be reached, and you’ve come to an impasse? Read on to learn more about how to make important legal decisions, especially medical ones, when co-parenting.
Relevance of the Type of Custody When Addressing Health-Related Situations in NJ
When it comes to making medical decisions for your child, you must first confirm who has the legal right to do so. Your official court order lays out the terms of legal and residential custody for your child. Parents who have joint legal custody each have decision-making power when it comes to medical decisions. A parent who has sole legal custody is the only one authorized to make these important decisions in support of their child’s best interests. First, determine what type of custody you have to confirm that you have the right to become involved in your child’s legal and medical well-being.
Paths Toward Agreement when Medical Decision-Making Disputes Arise Among Co-Parents
If parents cannot come to a shared decision regarding medical care, they have a couple of options. The first is mediation, which includes the use of a neutral third party to help facilitate a beneficial outcome. If mediation is unsuccessful or one party refuses to engage, one or both parents can file a motion with the court to have a judge intervene and determine an outcome. In this case, the judge or a parent can request a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child and provide recommendations regarding appropriate medical decision-making.
If your child’s other parent has sole legal custody, but they are not making medical decisions in alignment with your child’s best interests, you can seek to have the custody order modified. This would shift legal custody into shared status and give you the right to get involved in your child’s medical well-being.
When Co-Parents Disagree on Healthcare Choices: Lessons From a Previous Case
In MT v. DT, the New Jersey Superior Court addressed a stalemate in decision-making between two co-parents. Invoking parens patriae jurisdiction, the court stepped in to award temporary sole legal custody to one parent because the pair had proven incapable of reaching a mutual agreement regarding important medical decisions for their child. While this does not often happen, the court may find it necessary to make legal decisions on behalf of the co-parents or to award temporary sole legal custody to one parent so that medical decisions can be swiftly made in the child’s best interests.
Strategies for Child-Centered Shared Decision-Making
The single most important strategy for navigating shared decision-making on difficult issues is to keep your child at the center. Even if the two of you are conflict-ridden or you just don’t see eye-to-eye, you can overcome these obstacles by opening your mind to your co-parent’s perspective, doing research about both your side and theirs, and remaining willing to bend if, in fact, it is best for your child. The other essential strategy is to communicate transparently, respectfully, and promptly. Good communication can make or break any co-parenting dynamic, especially when you’re working together to make important legal and medical decisions for your child.
Protocols and Communication in Emergency Medical Situations
There are times when immediate medical decisions must be made to ensure the safety of the child. Should this happen, the parent with whom the child is currently in physical custody can make the decision regarding emergency medical treatment. They must promptly contact the other parent to inform them of the situation.
Seek Legal Assistance from The Montanari Law Group for Custody Cases in New Jersey
Joint legal custody arrangements are sometimes difficult to navigate, and when it comes to your child’s health and physical well-being, it is essential that swift action is taken to protect their care. Having the support of a child custody attorney like our experienced team at Montanari Law Group ensures that no time is wasted on decisions that impact your child’s present and future wellness.
Our attorneys have represented the best interests of hundreds of children in Wayne, Hawthorne, Ringwood, Pompton Lakes, and other areas in Passaic County, Bergen County, Hudson County, Essex County, and Northern New Jersey, and are prepared to help you do what is best for them, from arranging mediation to filing motions for temporary custody or custody order modifications. Contact us today at (973) 233-439 to schedule a free consultation regarding your co-parenting issue.