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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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Old 07-16-2014, 03:02 PM
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Default Medical/Health Appointments - Clarification/Insight Needed

What is the "norm" or "protocol" when it comes to taking kids medical/health appointments? In a situation where the parents have joint custody, do both have to attend every appointment? Or can either parent take the child to an appointment on their custody time?

For example, Child's mother takes Child to appointments (notifies Father in advance of upcoming appointment) and provides an update to Father following the visit. Father has some concerns and wants to take Child to his doctor for a simple check-up. Notifies Mother of his intention and promises to provide a thorough update following the visit. Mother claims that Father has no right to take Child to a medical appointment without her consent and participation in the appointment. Parents have Joint Custody.

Can Father take Child to his doctor for a check-up without Mother's consent and physical presence in the appointment? Or does Mother need to attend as well?
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:20 PM
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In most joint custody situations, both mother and father have to give joint consent to any non-emergency medical treatment, unless otherwise specificed in their separation/divorce agreement.

A medical check-up involves no treatment, so there is no harm in either parent taking the child, nor is there typically any restriction.

To answer the other question about appointments and treatments in general, both parents do not need to be present, though the attending parent would typically be expected to advise the non-attending parent of the appointment in advance, and the results of the appointment.

Unless there is some kind of blip in their specific agreement, or a court order forbidding it, there is no reason why the parents can't go together.

Of course, that's all just theory. In practice, only one parent needs to take kids to most appointments, unless there is some kind of major treatment being discussed with a doctor that requires both parents to consult with the doctor. Honestly, I take my kids to some appointments, and my ex takes them to others. We inform each other of the outcome via email. For major appointments, we both go, and pretend to get along for that period, like most grown ups should.

To answer your last question, there is no consent required from the mother for a father to take a child to a simple check-up, nor is there consent required from the father for the mother to take the child to a simple check-up.

If you are describing a situation where a mother is attempting to restrict the father from taking the child to an appointment without her presence or consent, yet is quite happy to make appointments and attend without the father, then the mother is pretty much out to lunch. There is no such thing as a mother having greater authority than a father to make medical decisions and book appointments in a joint custody situation, unless there is something specifically written down in an agreement or prescribed in a court order.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:22 PM
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from my understanding, even in a sole custody situation, the parent with out custody has the right to access medical information and can take the child(ren) to doctors appointments.

He wouldn't need her permission, but she would have every right to attend, as would he.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:24 PM
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What a bizarre and controlling manner in which the father is acting, particularly since he has been given notice and the opportunity to attend. What, specifically, are his concerns that he feels are not being addressed? Was he always this controlling during the marriage?


We separated the areas of medical care, I did the doctor and provided the results, he did the dentist, optometrist, and provided results. Worked well.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:43 PM
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If you are describing a situation where a mother is attempting to restrict the father from taking the child to an appointment without her presence or consent, yet is quite happy to make appointments and attend without the father, then the mother is pretty much out to lunch.

This is exactly what I am describing! There is no reason and nothing in the court order stating that Mother must attend all appointments. It's something she feels is her right as Child's mother, even if Father is the one making the appointment with his doctor on his time with Child.

So the question would be... Legally, must Father "allow" Mother to attend a non-specialist appointment (simple check-up, weight/height/etc) he makes for Child on his time? Or can he just take his Child and provide an update afterwards (and deal with the wrath of why wasn't she informed of the appointment so that she could attend too)? And then how does Father defend himself?
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:44 PM
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Mcdreamy, the way I read it, I got the impression that the father in this case has concerns about his chid's health that were unrelated to any recent appointments that the mother would have done. I didn't interpret it as controlling, just him wanting to take the child to a doctor's appointment. I got the impression that the father in this case was simply giving notice of an intention to take a child to the doctor, in the same way that the mother gives notice to him to do the same. I also did not read that the father was given the opportunity to attend appointments that the mother booked, but perhaps you can help me see what that was indeed written?

I agree, dividing up appointments like you did would make more sense, but I doubt that in this situation, both parties have evolved to a certain point.

Assuming that my reading of the situation is correct, how is it possible that it is the father that is displaying controlling behaviour, when it is the mother that is attempting to establish herself as the gatekeeper for all appointments, and as a required presence for all appointments as well?
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:00 PM
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Straight-- In car - 2nd paragraph. Mother notifies of upcoming ...


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Old 07-16-2014, 04:06 PM
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Thank you Straittohell. You understood the situation bang on.

Mcdreamy, the way I read it, I got the impression that the father in this case has concerns about his child's house that were unrelated to any recent appointments that the mother would have done. I didn't interpret it as controlling, just him wanting to take the child to a doctor's appointment. I got the impression that the father in this case was simply giving notice of an intention to take a child to the doctor, in the same way that the mother gives notice to him to do the same. I also did not read that the father was given the opportunity to attend appointments that the mother booked, but perhaps you can help me see what that was indeed written?

Exactly. The father wishes to take his child to a simple check-up. He has concerns regarding the child's health that the mother isn't addressing to the father's liking. So the father would like a second opinion from his own doctor. Just like the mother notifies him of any upcoming appointments (that she books for times suitable for her when the child is with her), the father extended the same courtesy to her by letting her know that he plans to take his child for a simple check-up with his doctor. Unfortunately, this courtesy was responded to with hostility and claims that he does not have he right to take the child to a medical appointment without her consent and presence, and that if he wishes to book an appointment with his doctor, it must be at a time that she will be able to attend. Otherwise, she doesn't consent to the father taking his child to a simple check-up.

"I agree, dividing up appointments like you did would make more sense, but I doubt that in this situation, both parties have evolved to a certain point."

The father has attempted to divide up appointments so that he may be able to take the child himself, but the mother refuses and claims she that, as the child's mother, she will schedule and attend every appointment. And any appointment the father makes, she will be sure to attend as well. (This last part is what does not sit well with the father - why can he not be trusted to take his child to a check-up and provide the mother with an update, like she provides when she takes the child to an appointment?)

"Assuming that my reading of the situation is correct, how is it possible that it is the father that is displaying controlling behaviour, when it is the mother that is attempting to establish herself as the gatekeeper for all appointments, and as a required presence for all appointments as well?"

Your reading of the situation is correct. It is the mother that is displaying controlling behaviour by, as you so accurately put it, attempting to establish herself as the gatekeeper for all appointments and as a required presence for all appointments including ones scheduled by the father.

So with this being said, my previous question still stands:

As there is no reason and nothing in the court order stating that the mother must attend all appointments, legally speaking, must the father "allow" Mother to attend the appointment (simple check-up, weight/height/etc) he makes for the child on his time? Or can he just take his child and provide an update afterwards (and deal with the wrath of why wasn't she informed of the time and location of appointment so that she could attend)? And then how does the father defend himself afterwards?
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdreamy View Post
Straight-- In car - 2nd paragraph. Mother notifies of upcoming ...
McDreamy, the father HAS notified the mother. She is claiming that he CANNOT take the child without her consent and presence at the appointment... which took him by surprise because (1) they have joint custody, (2) it's a simple check-up and not a specialist appointment, and (3) she takes the child to appointments on her own all the time and he trusts that she will provide an update afterwards. So why, as the child's father, can he not be trusted of the same? Sort of a double standard, don't you think?
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Old 07-16-2014, 04:40 PM
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Mcdreamy, I think we are not understanding each other. You stated that the father has been "given notification and opportunity"; I will agree that he was given "notification", but the critical part missing is "opportunity". I doubt very much that the mother allows the father the opportunity to attend.

Maggie82, it is an absolute double standard, and the mother doesn't actually have an legal right to determine who books the appointments, and who is allowed to attend. She is, for all intents and purposes, 'full of it'.

Simply put, she has no legal recourse if it is joint. The father can book the appointment, take his son to it, and she can attend if she wants to, but she can't prevent it.

On a side note, it is unfortunate that they can't agree on what constitutes a medical issue for their son. The father in this situation would likely argue that the mother isn't showing enough concern, and the mother in this situation would likely argue that the father is not trusting her judgment as a mother.

The truth on this one will probably lie somehwere in between. The father in this case is perfectly entitled to book a simple checkup for their son, but it is unfortunate that him and the mother cannot agree on what constitutes a medical issue.

Regardess of that aside, at the very core of it, the mother can't do diddly-squat about this. The father can book his son for a simple checkup. Whether he SHOULD or not is a tougher call. The mother needs to accept that she does not have any more rights or authority than the father does to book appointments.

That being said, if there was any treatment in play, both parties would need to consent.
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