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Who makes healthcare decisions for children after divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Child Custody

You and your spouse got divorced, and you’ve split up the physical custody of your children. Maybe the kids live with you for one week and then with your ex for the next week. You have a slightly different schedule over the summer vacation or the holidays, but you generally know what to expect.

However, you run into complications when it comes time to make major decisions. Maybe one of your children needs medical treatment. Perhaps you’re trying to decide what vaccines a child should get or what type of healthcare treatment should be allowed. 

Who gets to make these decisions? You and your spouse would’ve done so together when you were married, but who gets to make these crucial choices for your child today?

The division of legal custody

Your child custody order should answer this question. When you get divorced, you have to split up both physical and legal custody. While physical custody determines where the child lives, legal custody tells you who gets to make important decisions – where to go to school, where to start a bank account, what religion to follow, what medical care to receive, etc.

Legal custody may have been split equally between the two of you, and you have to work together to make healthcare decisions. Neither one of you can just make the choice on your own. You have to put the child’s best interests first and work as a team, even after the divorce.

A situation like this can certainly grow complex, and it’s important for both you and the other co parent to understand what legal steps to take.


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