Children’s treatment in parental separation

When a separated couple has children and needs to decide about medical assessment, psychological and other allied health assessments, medical treatment and any therapeutic intervention for their children, the situation can be complex. It may require careful consideration and, sometimes, legal intervention.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Legal Custody: The first thing to consider is the legal custody arrangement of the children. Legal custody can be joint (both parents share decision-making authority) or sole (one parent has decision-making authority). If the parents share joint legal custody, they should make medical decisions together and reach a consensus. If one parent has sole legal custody, that parent typically has the authority to make medical decisions for the children without the other parent’s consent. Parents are responsible for communicating these decisions with each other, and the clinicians and psychiatrists in the Family Nurture do not take any responsibility if one parent fails to communicate with the other parent. If there is any court order that asks the Health Practitioner to communicate these decisions, it is the responsibility of the parent who accompanies the child to inform their health practitioner at the Family Nurture about it. The full responsibility to inform the practitioner sits with the parent. They must provide a copy of those court orders before making any appointment.

Communication: Effective communication between the separated parents is crucial in matters of medical and health treatment for the children. They should discuss and agree upon medical decisions whenever possible, especially for non-emergency and non-urgent situations. This is the pure responsibility of parents. The clinicians and psychiatrists in Family Nurture are not responsible for contacting each parent and informing them about their recommendation unless it is agreed in advance. It is expected that the parent presented with the child to inform the other parents by appropriate means considering their circumstances.

Court Orders: If there is a court order specifying the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding medical decisions, both parents must adhere to the terms of the order. Violating a court order can have legal consequences. The parents must inform their clinician or psychiatrists about any court order and provide them with a copy of that order; otherwise, the responsibility of not following those orders sits with the parents and not the involved clinician or psychiatrist. 

Appointment reminders: Family Nurture will send the appointment reminders only to one mobile number given as the main contact number for the child. It’s the parents’ responsibility to contact each other and communicate these appointments. Family Nurture does not take any responsibility if the parent fails to notify each other about these appointments.

If there is disagreement, the clinicians or psychiatrists could provide an appointment to provide further information about their child’s treatment; however, this appointment will be within the clinician’s or psychiatrist’s working hours. It is the responsibility of the parent to seek an appointment. As our clinician and psychiatrist have a busy schedule providing care for several young people and their families, this appointment will often be unavailable for a few weeks. These appointments will be similar to other appointments with the same consultation fee. If your child is absent during this consultation, you might not be eligible for any Medicare rebate.

It’s important for separated couples to establish clear lines of communication and cooperation regarding their children’s medical care. Ultimately, the goal should always be to prioritize the health and well-being of the children involved.