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Who makes the decisions about school and healthcare post-divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2023 | Child Custody

Parents often take for granted that they have a say in what happens with their children. They typically assume that they can work through things with their spouse if there is a disagreement about what kind of medical treatment the children should receive or what school they attend.

But, parents who have separated or divorced may have a harder time agreeing on what is right for their children. One parent may start thinking about private school if children in the family demonstrate either impressive academic potential or have notable struggles with their education. Parents may also disagree about medical treatment because they have different personal beliefs.

Who usually gets to make the choices about the children when parents share custody in Texas?

Parents should try to agree on major decisions

Parents splitting time with their children generally also have to share legal authority. Custody orders usually include provisions giving each parent a right to have a say in important decisions for the children. Texas law requires that parents communicate with each other about important matters for their children rather than withholding information from one another. Whenever possible, they should seek to cooperate.

Occasionally, one parent will be able to make a choice without the input of the other. Those scenarios include when a medical emergency arises during one adult’s parenting time. The individual currently caring for the child will choose where they seek treatment and what care they undergo until medical professionals can stabilize the child. For long-term decisions, including school enrollment or more extensive care needs, parents will usually need to have a discussion and reach a decision.

If they find themselves completely unable to compromise with each other, then it may be necessary to go back to the family courts. A judge can review the family circumstances and potentially make a decision on an individual matter or about the future allocation of decision-making authority so that there won’t continue to be conflict between the parents.

Learning more about how Texas family law and the family courts handle unique challenges, like differences in opinion about the children’s needs, may help people to more successfully navigate a conflict about education, healthcare or other key decisions related to their children’s lives. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start.


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