Children need to have medical care throughout their childhood. The extent depends on the child's circumstances, so it is up to the parents to do what they can do to manage this. When you and the other parent aren't together any longer, the medical care decisions can prove challenging.
Your parenting plan should have directives about how the child's medical care will be handled. Having everything set up front can help to alleviate the stress that might come from having to make difficult decisions. Whether you are creating the initial plan or need to make some choices about the care, be sure that you are thinking of the child's best interests.
Decide the scope of parental responsibility
When it comes to medical care, some parents have strict guidelines that they want followed. This may come in the form of either demanding that the child remain up to date on all vaccinations or refusing that the child has any immunizations at all. Another consideration involves accepting or refusing specific care like blood transfusions. All of these should be spelled out clearly in the parenting plan.
Another thing that needs to be documented is how the medical care decisions will work. Is one parent responsible for them or do both parents share the responsibility? What happens if there is a medical emergency – can the parent with the child make the decisions alone? Making these plans now can reduce the likelihood that there will be stress in the future.
Know the health insurance and out-of-pocket expense information
Health care for children is likely covered through health insurance that one parent keeps on the child. Which parent is responsible for this cost should be noted in the parenting plan. If the other parent opts to get coverage on the child, that policy would be secondary. On top of the medical insurance information, you also need to decide how out-of-pocket expenses will be handled.
Make plans for when the kids are sick
When the kids are sick, there is a good chance that one parent will need to stay home with the child. If they are hospitalized, one adult may need to remain at the hospital. Working out a schedule may be needed when it occurs, but you might be able to come up with a general plan for what to do ahead of time.
Dealing with the stress of medical situations with your children can make things difficult enough without having to add in an argument with your ex. The more detailed your child custody order, the less chance there will be for disagreements later that lead to contentious situations.