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Parenting After Divorce: The Health of Your Child

After you have divorced your partner, you may still need to interact with him or her if both of you share children together. Parents may need to consult with each other over important issues, ranging from schooling or behaviour issues to health issues or participating in certain activities.

One of the more critical reasons parents may need to communicate is the health of their child. Items like medical appointments, insurance and benefit claims, or meeting special needs are all items that both parents should be able to discuss amicably in order to make a decision that best benefits their child.

As outlined on the Government of Canada website, there are many considerations that can fall under the health and physical well-being of a child. For many parents, a task as simple as taking a child for a doctor’s appointment may be challenging after a divorce of separation. Parents may need a reliable way to communicate with each other about who is more flexible to take the child on the appointment date, and what to do if there is a last-minute change and the other parent needs to step in.

Then there is the issue of payment. Some people have comprehensive health and benefits programs through their employers, and others do not. If the custodial parent does not have a benefits program, is he or she allowed to process his or her child’s health needs – prescriptions, braces, glasses, etc. – through the parent that may have the benefits? How would it work if the companies allow benefits to pass through one spouse’s insurance, and the difference covered by the other spouse’s insurance?

In order to create some guidelines on what responsibilities a parent may have in this situation, it’s best to develop a parenting plan. This agreement can outline how separated or divorced parents will share the responsibilities of raising their child, even if one parent has full custody. Consulting an experienced family lawyer will help you draft an agreement that is unique to your family, and create terms that both you and your former partner find reasonable and acceptable.

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