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As any parent knows, children are accident-prone. It is not a question of if a child will be injured but rather when the child will be injured next. The summer months are especially dangerous for children as they are out of school and warm weather encourages them to flock to swimming pools and playgrounds. Parents of young children almost expect that at some point their child will become injured.
When a child is injured and the child’s parents are married, the process of caring for the child’s wounds is simple: The parent with the child at the time of the injury assesses the nature of the injury, obtains appropriate treatment for the child, and informs the other parent at an appropriate time. However, suppose that you are not the parent with whom the child primarily lives and, during a visit with the child becomes seriously injured. What should you do?
Handle Emergency Situations Appropriately
First, you should assess the seriousness of the injury. In a situation where the child appears to be in imminent danger of death or permanent harm, you should treat the situation as an emergency and summon appropriate assistance. You should then attempt to notify the other parent as soon as possible. Obtaining emergency care for the child in this circumstance is acceptable, especially if you have attempted to notify the other parent and advise him or her of the situation. If you must provide consent to medical procedures, try to limit your consent to only those procedures necessary to save the child’s life and/or prevent further harm or damage.
Determine if You Have Authority for Non-emergency Medical Decisions
When a court creates a parenting plan, it may choose to give one parent or both parents the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the child. A parent who lacks this authority is not able to make decisions concerning the child’s medical care but must instead seek consent from the other parent. For example, a parent whose child is complaining of a toothache but is not suffering from any critical injury should contact the other parent about what steps to take if the parent does not have the authority to make medical decisions. (For parents who do have the authority to make medical decisions, you may wish to provide the other parent with the names and contact information of the child’s doctors and decide in advance what care, if any, the other parent may obtain for your child in the event of an injury.)
How a Chicago Family Law Attorney Can Provide Clarity
This situation illustrates the need for a clear and well-defined plan between divorced or separated parents concerning care for their child or children. At Arami Law, our attorneys are skilled at helping with divorce or separating parents crafting parenting plans, and dividing up parental responsibilities in a way that makes sense for the parents’ situation. We will also vigorously fight for you to obtain your parenting goals. Call our office at (312) 584-6355 or contact us online to learn how our counsel and advice can take the uncertainty out of your divorce or custody case.