Learning how to share parental responsibilities can be one of the most challenging changes for parents who have children together after the end of their relationship in Florida. It is easy for parents no longer living with one another to fall into significant disputes about what should happen with their children.
Parents may disagree about everything from which schools the children attend and when they can have their own cellphones to what kind of health care the children receive. Personal values and religious beliefs may influence what either parent prefers when it comes to the health care for the children in the family.
If you and your ex don’t agree about your child’s medical treatment, who gets to make that decision?
Your parenting plan should contain the answer
When parents divorce or litigate parenting matters in Florida, they should have a parenting plan at the end of that process. A parenting plan is an in-depth document that discusses everything from time-sharing to decision-making authority.
Although the family courts encourage a collaborative approach to decisions about the children, the parenting plan will usually identify one parent as the individual with final authority in certain areas. Educational decisions and health care decisions are among the forms of authority explicitly designated to one parent or the other in a parenting plan.
Your parenting plan should state whether you or your ex has the final say regarding health care matters.
What if you don’t have authority and want to change that?
If you currently do not have authority regarding medical decisions for your children but you think that you need to challenge that, you can potentially go back to court for a custody modification.
You will need to show that changing the arrangement would be in the best interests of the children. If you can show that your ex has failed to take your child for physicals or get them care for noteworthy medical issues, then a judge may agree that it would be better for you to have the final say regarding the children’s health care.
Learning more about how Florida handles the division of parental responsibilities can help you make sense of your parenting plan and update it for the protection of your children.