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Co-Parenting Children With Complex Medical Needs


In determining a child’s best interest, the family courts place a great deal of importance on continuity and stability; they will not order a change in primary residential parent or authorize a relocation to another state unless these changes would benefit the child’s health or physical and emotional safety.  You do not have to be a perfect parent for the court to award you the majority of the parenting time, but you do have to provide the children with adequate nutrition and shelter and access to education and medical care.  In most cases, a parent would need to neglect a child’s care severely, such as causing the child to miss multiple weeks of school for no good reason or not taking a child to the dentist until the child’s cavities were causing toothaches, before the court would intervene.  In the case of children with pre-existing chronic health problems though, the standard for parental involvement in a child’s care is higher.  Caring for children with special medical needs is challenging enough that it can cause conflicts between parents even in intact marriages; it is easy for former spouses to blame every setback a child with special medical needs encounters on each other.  If you think that modifying your parenting plan is the best way to help your child manage their health condition, contact a Palm Beach County child custody lawyer.

Ex-Wife Alleges That Ex-Husband Has Neglected Sons’ Medical Care

Lori and Andrew had three children together, a daughter followed by two sons.  Both boys have special medical needs.  After the parties divorced, Lori moved to Virginia with the parties’ daughter, while the boys remained in Florida with their father, spending holidays and part of the summer with their mother.

About six years later, after the parties’ daughter had reached adulthood, Lori filed a motion to modify the parenting plan so that she would be the primary residential parent of her sons.  She alleged that Andrew had not provided adequate healthcare for the boys.  She cited evidence that the older boy had suffered a relapse of his relapsing-remitting health condition and that Andrew had not provided the younger son with a medication that the boy’s doctor had recommended for him.

In deciding whether to modify the parenting plan, the court had to decide whether remaining in Florida, amid the health concerns Lori had cited, was more harmful to the boys than moving to Virginia and changing residences and schools.  The court decided that, in the interest of continuity and stability, the boys should stay in Florida with Andrew, but the judge acknowledged that this was not an easy decision.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Children’s health and medical care can be fraught subjects for divorced parents.  A Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you if you and your ex-spouse disagree about the best course of medical treatment for your child.  Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation.



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