Co-parenting is a challenge. When you have children, you must accept that your former spouse or partner remains a part of your life. Though your marriage or relationship may have ended because you and your partner are fundamentally different people who cannot agree, you have to overcome it to be a co-parent. Not only is it what your children deserve, but they are going to be looking to you to help them process and cope with the divorce.
Is it significantly easier to tell someone they must get beyond an emotional hurdle than going through it? Of course. But we wanted to discuss a typical disagreement we have seen amongst co-parents while also providing a fresh perspective on reaching a mutual understanding. So, what happens when you and your former spouse can’t agree on a medical decision?
Unless there is a court ordered limitation, you and the other parent have an equal say in medical treatment, education, and major decisions for your children. Great co-parents discuss significantly more than that. Imagine a future where your child has a negative experience at school, and your former spouse calls to inform you. In addition to informing you about what happened, they ask your opinion about how to handle it. This is good parenting, right?
Those types of relationships—ones based on mutual respect, trust, and kindness—take time to develop and sometimes, professional assistance. You can get there eventually. However, we recognize that when the break up is recent or there have been behaviors that erode trust, parents may need to use counseling, mediation, arbitration or court to overcome the disagreement.
How To Reach Resolution
For instance, let’s look at a very polarizing subject: vaccinations. What happens when you and your co-parent have strong opinions over whether to vaccinate your child? At first, this looks like an impossible hurdle. How could you possibly get one person to change their minds? In actuality, you don’t have to. Co-parents have disagreements regarding medical decisions all the time. There is a process to resolve these issues.
Are co-parents going to disagree? They can and will. That is why parenting plans include dispute resolution clauses. They outline the steps the parties need to take if and when these issues surface. Before that ever occurs, we recommend discussing it with your former partner whenever it is safe to do so. Even if it devolves or doesn’t go as planned, maintain a respectful tone and listen. These are the small pieces that build better relationships. And then try to have another conversation later when the two of you have additional time to think and consider the other’s points.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you can pursue alternative dispute resolution or court. When it comes to medical issues, you should know that the court will err on the side of safety. If a judge is forced to decide whether a child should be vaccinated, they will do what the medical professionals (e.g., the CDC, child’s physician, etc.) are recommending. Because judges aren’t medical experts, they will look to the experts for guidance.
View Ridge Family Law & Estate Planning
When you work with the trusted attorneys at the View Ridge Family Law & Estate Planning,, you will have someone that looks beyond your legal needs. In addition to helping you through your family law issues, we want to help you be the best you can be. Your long-term success is paramount to us. Allow our lawyers to get you started on that path. Contact us to schedule a consultation.