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djb1850

Noncustodial Parent Refuses to turn over medical records

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My son was just returned from his court ordered summer visitation. During the last week of his time there, his father took him to an urgent care facility without my knowledge (I was called after the fact) for an injury to my sons ankle which was non emergent. My son complained of pain in his ankle 2 weeks prior to the urgent care visit. We have joint legal custody, so I should have been made aware. The urgent care doctor referred them to an Ortho doc. My son was taken by his father to Cincinnati Children's to see an Ortho doctor 3 days later. I asked the father to make me aware of the appointment date, time, Doctor info etc. but he refused. I asked that I be contacted before treatment was administered, as it made since for our son to have treatment here in Indiana so that the follow up care could be taken care of by the same doctor. Sons father refused, informed me that he and his wife would handle it and make whatever decisions needed to be made. I received a photo of my son in a cast hours later, no phone call or info from an adult. I was finally allowed to talk to my son (after numerous attempts to contact them), and was informed by my 12 year old that he begged his dad to allow him to call (he's never been sick more than the flu, so he was scared) and his father told him no, calling me wasn't necessary, because his mother (the wife) was right there. Sons father refuses to give me any medical info, I can't get any from the hospital, as I wasn't listed on any of the paperwork, all I know is the cast is to come off in 4 weeks (per my son). What are my legal options as far as preventing my sons father from doing this again? He seems to care more about being in control and not providing me with info, than the well-being of his child, as no doctor can properly treat him without even knowing what they are treating. Please help!

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You need to either (1) ask the court that entered the original custody order to hold the father in contempt if the order provides for sharing medical authority or (2) ask the court that entered the custody order to require the parents to share medical authority.  You might also consider sending a copy of your custody order to the treating physicians and requesting copies of the medical records.  When you take the child to your physician in Indiana, he or she can also request copies of the records from the Ohio facilities - that would also have a high degree of success.

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1 hour ago, djb1850 said:

My son complained of pain in his ankle 2 weeks prior to the urgent care visit. We have joint legal custody, so I should have been made aware.

 

What is it that you think you should have been made aware of?  And when do you think you should have been made aware?  Are you suggesting that any time your child complains "of pain," the parent with custody of the child at the time needs to immediately notify the other parent?  That's certainly not what "joint legal custody" requires.

 

 

1 hour ago, djb1850 said:

My son was taken by his father to Cincinnati Children's to see an Ortho doctor 3 days later. I asked the father to make me aware of the appointment date, time, Doctor info etc. but he refused.

 

Ok, so somewhere in here, he apparently made you aware of the urgent care visit.

 

 

1 hour ago, djb1850 said:

What are my legal options as far as preventing my sons father from doing this again?

 

While the sharing of information probably should have been better, this is not exactly a significant issue.  However, you're free to spend the time and money taking this to the court and asking the judge to issue an order that clarifies what should happen if something like this arises in the future.  Keep in mind, however, that most family law judges are not particularly eager to micro-manage the lives of parties before them, and the results are often less than pleasing for both parties.

 

 

1 hour ago, RetiredinVA said:

When you take the child to your physician in Indiana, he or she can also request copies of the records from the Ohio facilities - that would also have a high degree of success.

 

Agree.

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Hi @djb1850

 

Thanks for posting! Sorry to hear about your son's ordeal. As you mentioned in your post, because you and your ex have joint legal custody, both parents have the right to have a say in your son's medical treatment. What does your final divorce judgment or custody order say? There may be more specific language requiring the parties to give one another advanced notice of any non-routine medical care. In that case, as RetiredinVA mentioned, you may want to file a contempt motion against your ex. If the language of the order is not that specific, you may want to file a motion to modify child custody to include more specific language about future medical treatment and advising and gaining consent from the other parent. If these sorts of issues persist, you can also petition the court to change the visitation schedule and give you primary custody.

 

Before filing any motions, you may want to consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area, who can advise you about next steps.

 

Best of luck and keep us posted! The FindLaw.com Team

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Pg107, several things you must not have read correctly in my post, and maybe a few I should clarify.  Our court order for legal custody stipulates that consent for treatment must be given by both parties. I'm not saying his father has to make me aware of each ache and pain. His visit to the urgent care and hospital should have been made known to me, other than through a photo and from my 12 year old. They informed the doctors office that his wife was my child's mother. Which they didn't question due to last names being the same. I am entitled to medical records which he refuses to give me, and I can't successfully get from the hospital, even though I have sent them out court order. 

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2 hours ago, djb1850 said:

 Our court order for legal custody stipulates that consent for treatment must be given by both parties.

 

Ok.  That wasn't in your original post (I'm also guessing that the word "emergent" was a typo).

 

This is a "pick your battles" situation.  It will cost you time and money to take this to the court, and this single violation likely won't result in anything other than a hand-slap and an instruction not to do it again.  What's the best solution short of going to court?  I don't know because I don't know you and I don't know your ex.  Maybe pay a lawyer a few hundred bucks to send him a letter, but you know better than anyone else what likely will make the situation worse and what might have some chance of remedying the situation.

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If he is in contempt of the order, you can take it back to court but that costs a lot of time and money. You will have to ask the medical practices where your son was treated what is required to obtain medical records. The records could be subpoenaed if you do go back to court but that won't help much in the immediate future. Best is to take your child to a doctor where you live and have that doctor request the records. If this just happened last week it is very possible those records are not actually ready yet. Most docs send the reports out for dictation and the turn around time varies.

 

Other than call you before hand, I am not sure what you want done differently. It seems entirely reasonable that after a week or two of the ankle not improving on its own, Dad takes the kid to get it checked out. Letting it go another week when it required a cast does not sounds reasonable.

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