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Who makes medical choices in a Texas co-parenting arrangement?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Parental Rights

After divorce or a non-marital split, parents typically have to co-parent with each other. Co-parenting arrangements typically involve adults sharing time with their children according to the terms of a parenting plan. Some families can sustain a 50-50 split in which each parent takes care of the children approximately half of the time.

Other families require very different time-sharing arrangements based on family schedules and other factors. The time that adults in the family spend with the children isn’t the only thing they have to share with each other. Parents also generally have shared legal custody or the authority to make choices on behalf of their children.

The adults in a family typically decide what religion the household observes, what schools the children attend and even what medical treatment they receive. Sometimes, differing values or perspectives on family circumstances about what medical treatment their children should receive cause disputes between co-parents. Who gets to make healthcare decisions in a co-parenting arrangement in Texas?

There are different rules for different situations

Sometimes, parents have to make a quick decision on behalf of their children because of an unexpected incident. If someone fell off of playground equipment and dislocated their shoulder or came down with an extreme fever, the parent who currently has parenting time when those issues arise will have the authority to make medical decisions for any emergency treatment. They can choose the facility and what care the child receives.

However, when it comes to standard care and elective treatments, the parents will typically need to agree with one another. Texas law requires that parents communicate about the matters that affect their children and attempt to reach an agreement regarding what kind of care they need and what facility or professional will provide it.

In the rare case where the adults find themselves completely disagreeing about treatment, the case may occasionally need to go back to the Texas family courts. Judges can rule on specific matters given what they believe would be in the best interest of the child. Sometimes, judges will also choose to modify an existing custody order to grant one parent the final authority in medical matters because of ongoing conflict around a child’s care.

Looking over a parenting plan can be a good starting point for those concerned about decision-making authority in a Texas co-parenting scenario. Seeking legal guidance can be similarly helpful.