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Who is in Charge of the Child’s Medication Post-Divorce?

Maggio law firm, California family law attorney, California divorce attorney, child custody, California child custody, child custody and medication, California legal decision making

It’s no surprise to anyone that divorced couples don’t always agree – in fact, they often disagree. And there is no topic more prone to differences in opinion than the health and well-being of a child. After a divorce, parents find previously small differences in opinion regarding their children can explode into full scale battles. While co-parenting after divorce can be difficult, parents are encouraged to find a positive form of communication so they can stay focused on the child’s best interest. But what happens when the disagreement is about the child’s medication? Who makes the final decision?  

Medical and health issues can be quite controversial. When difficulties in these areas arise, it can be best to dismiss inconsequential arguments as not worth the discord such as a slightly different bedtime or whether or not the child flosses every night they spend visiting the non-custodial parent, but other issues are far too important to dismiss and may even be life threatening. One such issue is a child’s medication.

Some children depend heavily on medication to maintain their quality of life. This can make a disagreement on the topic a massive problem for everyone – including the child. When you and your ex do not agree regarding your child’s medication, the issue must be addressed. For example, many disagreements arise regarding psychiatric medications prescribed for the treatment of childhood depression or anxiety disorders. Children are being diagnosed earlier than in years past and new generations of serotonin-reuptake drugs are available for physicians and psychiatrists to prescribe for young patients. This type of treatment for young children is questioned by many so it has been a high point of contention between many divorced and divorcing parents. Another common disagreement between co-parents regarding a child’s medication occurs when children are being treated for ADD. It is not uncommon for children to be receiving prescription treatment for the condition as young as 7 or 8 years old.

These are just two instances in which parents may disagree regarding a child’s medication. There are many more. In this type of situation and other, similar situations where parents cannot come to an agreement regarding their child’s medical treatment, they may seek counsel from the judge instead. In this situation, the judge makes the final decision based on what is best for the child. When the judge is making his decision on the matter, arguments from the parents based on religious, ethical, medical or philosophical beliefs may or may not be taken into consideration.

If you are having difficulty co-parenting after divorce or if your parenting plan does not seem to be in your child’s best interest, please get in touch with one of the experienced family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.



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