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What if co-parents disagree on education or healthcare matters?

On Behalf of | Jul 17, 2023 | Family Law

Co-parenting after ending a romantic relationship is a challenge. Even when parents have agreed to a specific custody arrangement, inevitably they will find themselves disagreeing on certain matters as life evolves.

Sometimes, the parenting challenges that adults experience are relatively easy to overcome. Other times, they can have lasting implications for the entire family, especially the children. Parents have a responsibility to make choices that are in the best interests of their children. Co-parents that share leg and physical custody each have authority related to a child’s religious observances, their daily schedule, their education and even their healthcare.

What happens when the parents disagree on a major decision related to the children?

Parents need to compromise or go back to court

Texas law details how parents should work with each other when they have shared parental rights. Not only do they have an obligation to comply with the custody order a judge creates, but they should also attempt to cooperate whenever possible about decision-making matters. A parent has emergency decision-making authority during their custody time. They can choose where to take a child for medical treatment without consulting the other parent after a sudden injury, for example. However, choices with long-term implications that don’t require an instant decision typically necessitate a discussion between the co-parents.

Parents should openly share information about their children and try to work through their disagreements about what school they should attend or what kind of medical treatment they receive. Oftentimes, having an in-depth discussion about the children’s needs can lead to an agreement on how to move forward with their schooling or medical treatment. Other times, parents find themselves in a stalemate scenario where neither is willing to compromise with the other. If the adults in a family cannot reach a decision and both claim that their perspective better reflects the best interests of the children, then the family may need to go back to court.

Judges can give one parent authority in a certain area of a child’s life if there’s reason to believe that both parents will be unable to cooperate in handling those matters. Some parents can settle their disagreements in mediation, while others simply cannot cooperate with each other and will ultimately need a judge to make a decision about educational or medical matters based on their belief about what would be in the best interests of the children.

Learning more about Texas rules regarding the responsibilities of parents who share custody may benefit those seeking to be better advocates for their children. Seeking legal guidance is always a viable option in this regard.