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When co-parents don’t agree on health care, who wins?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2023 | Child Custody |

Parenting isn’t easy, and co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be especially complicated – particularly when you and your co-parent have developed vastly different approaches to your child’s medical needs.

While parents usually manage to agree on treatment for acute injuries or illnesses, disputes over treatment for chronic conditions, like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and even asthma, can get heated. So, too, can differences over vaccinations. One parent may think it’s only reasonable to get the child vaccinated or treated, while the other may feel that doing so actually puts their child at risk of great harm.

When there’s no room for compromise, who wins? 

Check your parenting and custody agreement 

Texas refers to both legal and physical custody of a child as “conservatorship.” Possessory conservatorship refers to the right to “possess and access” a child, while managing conservatorship refers to the right to make important decisions for the child, including those concerning medical needs.

Both kinds of conservatorships can be solo or joint. If the managing conservatorship was granted solely to one parent, that’s the parent with the final say on the matter (absent a new court decision). 

If you have joint managing conservatorship, you may ultimately have to take the issue before a judge and let the court decide what’s in your child’s best interest. That may involve evidence about the child’s medical history, their doctor’s recommendations, the accepted medical wisdom regarding their condition, their school records and more, but it’s a fight you may have no option but to take on.