Navigating Parental Disagreements on Medical Treatment

Have you ever wondered what happens when parents, who both have legal rights over their child, can’t agree on a medical decision?

A recent court decision has shed some light on this, and it’s essential reading for anyone involved in a custody battle.

Let’s dive in!

When Parents Disagree On Medical Treatment

Case Background

Imagine this: two parents, let’s call them Brooke and Scott, have shared legal custody of their child, G.W.-K. That means they both have equal say in decisions about their child.

However, they can’t agree on whether G.W.-K. should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Brooke is against it, while Scott thinks it’s a good idea.

Now, what’s a court to do in such situations? This was the challenge a district court faced recently.

The Court's Decision

The court had to decide which parent’s choice was in the best interest of the child. Now, you might be wondering: how does a court decide what’s best for a child? This decision gave some clear pointers!

  • How Serious is the Problem? The court will look at how severe the issue is. For instance, in our story, they’d consider the seriousness of COVID-19 and the risk it poses to G.W.-K.
  • What Do the Doctors Say? The court will listen to medical professionals. However, and this is crucial, just because a doctor says something doesn’t mean it’s the final word. Each case is different, and while doctor’s advice is essential, it’s not the only thing the court will consider.
  • Are There Any Risks? Every medical decision comes with some risks. The court will weigh these risks against the benefits. In our story, the court would consider any potential dangers of the vaccine.
  • What Does the Child Want? If the child is old and mature enough to have an opinion, the court might consider it. But this only happens if the child can make a smart choice. For instance, a very young child might not have a say, but a teenager might.

In G.W.-K.’s case, the court decided that getting the vaccine was in his best interest. They looked at advice from his pediatrician, data from health organizations, and other information. The judge saw that the benefits of the vaccine, like allowing G.W.-K. to travel safely, were more than the potential risks.

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What Does This Mean for Parents in a Custody Battle?

If you’re a parent in a custody battle, this decision means a few things:

  • The Court’s Role: If parents can’t agree on a medical decision, the court will step in to decide. They’ll look at what’s best for the child.
  • Many Factors to Consider: It’s not just about what one parent wants or what a doctor says. The court will look at many things to make its decision.
  • Every Case is Unique: Remember, every child and situation is different. So, just because the court decided one way in G.W.-K.’s case doesn’t mean it’ll decide the same way in another case.

The Child’s Voice Matters:
If your child is mature enough, their preference might be considered. It’s not always the case, but it’s something the court can look at.

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Custody battles can be tough, and making decisions about a child’s health makes them even more challenging. But this recent decision provides a roadmap for how courts might handle disagreements over medical choices. Always remember, the aim is to ensure the child’s best interests are at the heart of every decision.

If you find yourself in such a situation, it’s good to know how the court might think. And as always, it’s essential to consult with effective legal counsel to understand the specifics of your situation. Stay informed, and always prioritize your child’s well-being!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when co-parents can’t agree on a medical decision for their child?

If parents with shared legal custody can’t agree on a medical decision for their child, the court steps in and decides based on the child’s best interest.

How does a court decide what’s in the child’s best interest?

The court considers several factors: the severity of the issue, advice from medical professionals, potential risks of the medical decision, and, if applicable, the child’s wishes. The court also evaluates the benefits of the proposed treatment.

Is a doctor’s recommendation the final say in court?

No, a doctor’s recommendation is essential, but it’s not the final word. The court considers it among several factors, and each case is evaluated individually.

Does the child’s opinion count in court?

If the child is mature enough to make an informed decision, the court may consider their opinion. However, this varies depending on the child’s age and maturity.

What does this mean for parents in a custody battle?

If co-parents cannot agree on a medical decision, the court must favor the child’s best interest. The court considers multiple factors, not just one parent’s preference or a doctor’s recommendation. Remember, every case is unique, and the child’s voice matters.

"Glossary" in large, bold text, marking the beginning of a section defining key terms.


Legal Custody: The legal authority granted to a parent or guardian to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Medical Decision: A choice made regarding an individual’s health care and treatment. For a minor, this decision is typically made by the parent(s) or guardian(s).

Court’s Decision: The judgment or verdict reached by a court in a legal proceeding.

District Court: A state or federal trial court where cases initially begin.

COVID-19 Vaccine: A biological preparation that reportedly provides acquired immunity to COVID-19.

Best Interest of the Child: A legal principle that the child’s well-being should be the paramount concern in all decisions affecting them.

Pediatrician: A medical practitioner specializing in children and their diseases.

Health Organizations: Bodies at the local, state, national, or international level that protect public health.

Custody Battle: A legal dispute between parents or guardians over who can decide about a child and where they will live.

Child’s Voice: The opinion or preference of a child, considered in court if the child is mature enough to make an informed decision.

The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm: A law firm based in Las Vegas that offers legal services, including representation in custody battles and other legal disputes.

Online Form: A digital document or template for users to input and submit information online.

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Additional Resources for You

For our valued readers seeking guidance and support in various family law matters, our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., has created a suite of resources that could be instrumental in your time of need. Here’s a quick reference to these resources:

We encourage you to explore these resources to be well-informed and prepared for any family law proceedings you may be facing.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are seven offsite resources that can provide additional information on the topics discussed in the content:

  1. American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers: A resource for professionals involved in family law disputes, offering insights into the legal aspects of custody battles and disagreements over medical decisions.

  2. The Child Mind Institute: An independent, national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. It provides resources on how to navigate coparenting and child custody issues.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Offers comprehensive information about COVID-19, the vaccines, and the risk-benefit analysis, which can help parents make informed decisions about vaccination.

  4. American Psychological Association (APA): Provides various resources on child development, parent-child relationships and the psychological aspects of custody battles.

  5. Legal Information Institute (LII) from Cornell Law School: Offers a wealth of legal information, including a detailed section about child custody.

  6. MedlinePlus: A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, offering information about health topics, including how to understand health risks and benefits.

  7. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: This provides a range of educational materials and resources for parents and professionals dealing with children who have experienced trauma, which can be particularly relevant in custody battles.

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A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney

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Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Dear Reader,

If you’re facing challenges with custody or medical decision disagreements, don’t face them alone.

At The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.

Reach out to us by calling us at (702) 433-2889 or filling out our online form.

Let’s work together to ensure the best outcome for your child and your family.

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