Our understanding of science and medicine is growing every year. Doctors are constantly gaining new understanding of physiological and psychological conditions, and that allows them to develop appropriate treatment plans tailored for each patient.  This is especially helpful when the patient is a child.

When a child has special medical or psychological needs, it is quite possible that the child’s health care provider will prescribe medication to help cure or treat the condition. Hopefully both parents agree about the medication. However, in a divorce or after the divorce, a child’s medication is one of the many things that can be a stumbling block.

One thing to understand is that if the parents have joint legal custody, they both have the right to participate in medical decisions. If the child is diagnosed with a particular condition after the divorce is over, and only one parent thinks the child should be medicated for the condition, this can cause very specific problems.

One of the most common of these types of disputes is when a child is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. There are a variety of medications that help children with this diagnosis, which can affect concentration and performance in school, but not all parents agree that the benefits outweigh the risks.

In these cases, one parent may refuse to administer the medication during his or her parenting time. However, uneven or inconsistent administration of the medication can lead to other problems, especially if the parent refusing to give the medication has the child during school time. If your co-parent is refusing to provide medication for your child, it may be necessary to file a motion with the court forcing the other co-parent to properly administer the medication. If the other co-parent still refuses and the child is suffering adverse effects, it is possible your co-parent’s parenting time could be reduced.

If you and your co-parent cannot agree on a particular course of treatment, it is vital for you both to speak with the healthcare provider. It is possible that your co-parent is refusing to administer medication because he or she has a poor understanding of the risks and benefits of the course of treatment.


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