Co-parenting with a former partner or spouse can be stressful, even when your children are in perfect health. However, adding medical decisions into the mix can make it even more challenging. When you’re co-parenting, both of you want to make sure that the child is as healthy as they can be. Here are some tips for co-parents who have to make medical decisions together.
Communication Is Essential
Ideally, you should already have strong communication with your co-parent. You don’t have to like each other personally, but you should be able to work together for the sake of your children. When you need to make medical decisions for your child, you need to have strong communication. Make sure that you’re both up to date with everything that is happening. Then, sit down together and make plans. You don’t need to enjoy each other’s company, but you should be able to tolerate each other in this situation.
Ask for a Doctor’s Opinion
If you and your ex are torn on some aspect of your child’s care, you could discuss it with a doctor in order to get more information. While you both might be learning as much as possible about your child’s condition, a doctor will still be able to provide a more informed opinion. Talk to your child’s pediatrician or get a second opinion.
Both Parents Should Attend Doctor’s Appointments
While both parents might not be able to attend all of your child’s medical appointments, you should both make an effort to be at some of them. This way, you’re both equally involved in the care. You get to know the health professionals treating your child as well as get information directly from the doctors. If you’re not the parent that generally handles appointments, go to as many of them as you can. That way, you understand what is happening with different tests and treatments. Diagnostic test results inform about 70% of medical decisions. If you’re there when the test results are available, you know you have accurate information to base your decisions on.
If you and your co-parent cannot agree on an aspect of your child’s care, you should work with a mediator. Mediation is a process by which disputing parties can reach an agreement through the help of a neutral third party. When it comes to your child’s health, emotions and stress levels can get high. A mediator can help you make sure that you’re not letting these things get in the way of making the best decisions for your child. So, if you and your ex cannot get along enough to make a decision, or you are simply stuck on what to do, consider bringing in a mediator to help.
Go to Court
Going to court should never be your first step when making medical decisions as a co-parent. However, there are times when this is definitely the right thing to do. If your ex is ignoring medical advice or refusing to provide care for your child, that puts your kid’s health at risk. In this case, if communication and mediation don’t work, you may need to get the courts involved. Talk to a lawyer about revisiting the custody arrangements. They could make it a requirement of your ex’s custody to provide medical treatments.
Disagreements between co-parents should not have a negative impact on your child’s health. Both of you should always keep your child’s needs at the forefront, even if you don’t get along with each other. However, it might take some patience and outside assistance to be successful. With these tips, you can set a plan for making good medical decisions as co-parents.