Getting a divorce in Tampa–or anywhere else in Florida–is going to bring about changes. While the most immediate changes will affect you and your ex-spouse, it’s also going to affect your children if you have any. And this isn’t just limited to their living arrangements or school, it can also involve their medical care. So, you may be wondering if both you and your former spouse need to consent to medical treatment during a divorce?
At Robert Sparks Attorneys, our team of divorce lawyers in Tampa brings extensive experience in helping people through issues of a divorce, whether child support, living arrangements, medical care, or anything else involving your children. We’re serious about providing sound advice and healthy support. If you are going through a divorce in the Tampa area, contact us to schedule a one-on-one consultation.
Does Your Spouse Have to Consent to Your Child’s Medical Treatment During a Florida Divorce?
Like many issues in a divorce, the answer to the question of whether your spouse has to consent to your child’s medical treatment during a divorce depends on the circumstances. Generally speaking, courts will make decisions on child custody and child support payments based on:
- The best interest of the child
As it relates specifically to a divorce, this could extend to decisions about the child’s medical care. While a judge may be asked to intervene if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, the law allows a lot of latitude for negotiation between you and your spouse. So, depending on your situation, your spouse may not have to consent to your child’s medical care, especially if you have sole custody.
That said, if it reaches a judge, they’ll take the following into account regarding the issue:
- Court orders or parenting plans in place – The existing parenting plan or court order may specify decision-making responsibilities for the child’s medical care. The judge will review these documents to understand the agreed-upon terms.
- Relationship between the spouses – The judge may consider the level of communication and cooperation between the parents. If there is a history of effective communication and collaboration on medical decisions, this may influence the judge’s decision.
- Urgency of treatment – If the medical treatment is urgent and necessary for the well-being of the child, a judge may be more inclined to make a decision without waiting for the other parent’s consent.
- Medical opinions – The judge might consider the opinions of the doctors or specialists involved in the child’s care. Expert recommendations may carry weight in the decision-making process.
- Past history – The judge may take into account the past behavior of both parents and their history of involvement in the child’s medical care.
Again, when it comes down to it, you and your spouse should always put the needs of your child first. This is especially true when it involves their medical care. With that said, it’s important to know how you can demonstrate this to either your spouse or a judge.
How Can You Show Your Child’s Medical Need in a Florida Divorce?
Obviously, if your child is seriously ill, their medical care is very important. But practically speaking, things like medical bills, prescriptions, and hospital visits all factor into a divorce–in much the same way it would factor into a marriage. It’s helpful to know that the best interest of your child will be the top concern for any decision that’s made by a judge, so if you need to show evidence of this, make sure to provide the following:
- Medical records – Gather and present your child’s medical records that outline their health history, ongoing conditions, and any specific medical needs. This could include information about treatments, medications, and recommendations from healthcare professionals.
- Expert testimony – Having medical professionals testify on behalf of your child’s medical needs can be compelling. Their expert opinions can help the court understand the nature of the medical requirements and why they are necessary for your child’s well-being.
- Doctor’s reports or letters – Get reports or letters from your child’s healthcare providers explaining the medical condition, treatment plan, and the importance of adhering to certain medical needs. This can serve as valuable evidence.
- Prescriptions and treatment plans – If your child has specific prescriptions or treatment plans, provide these documents to the court. It helps in illustrating the ongoing medical requirements.
- Photographic evidence – Depending on the nature of the medical need, photographic evidence might be relevant. For example, if your child requires specialized medical equipment or accommodations, such as a wheelchair or modifications to living spaces, this evidence can be impactful.
- Your involvement – Demonstrate your active involvement in meeting the child’s medical needs. This could include your participation in medical appointments, therapies, or other necessary activities.
- Witness testimonies – If there are individuals, such as teachers, caregivers, or family members, who can testify about the child’s medical needs and the impact on their daily life, their statements can provide additional support.
- Consistency in care – Show consistency in providing necessary medical care for the child. This includes adhering to prescribed treatments, attending medical appointments, and ensuring the child’s overall well-being.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to rely on a judge to make a decision about your child’s medical care because your spouse won’t provide their consent, it can be incredibly frustrating. However, working with our team of experienced Tampa divorce lawyers can help you gather this evidence and present it in a way that’s compelling. Like any issue in your divorce, our team is dedicated to making sure that your child is taken care of.
Count on the Experience of Robert Sparks Attorneys
When you need to make sure that your interests are protected, you can count on the experience of our team at Robert Sparks Attorneys. Our Tampa divorce lawyers have the skill and dedication you need to walk away from your divorce with your rights protected and that you–and your child–are treated properly. To learn more about how we can help, contact us today for a one-on-one consultation.