Medical Treatement

Inside the Law: Medical treatment for children of divorced parents: Who decides?

May 11, 2018 - 3:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A divorced couple in Pittsburgh has gone to court to determine whether their youngest son should continue to play high school football. 

The 17-year-old son, who has a history of concussions, wants to keep playing and his mother, who says he understands the risks, supports his decision. 

The father, however, is concerned about potential lasting harm and wants him to stop. 

The parents had a joint custody agreement that gave them both the right to make decisions. 

Legally who decides, and on what basis? 

In this case, it's the court that decides based on the best interest of the child, not which parent should have the right to make the decision. 

The judge has preliminarily allowed the boy to continue to play, but will seek input from medical professionals about the likelihood and long-term impact of another head injury, and it's that input, not the desire of either parent, that will ultimately carry the day. 

If you're working through a custody arrangement, consider making a parenting plan that lays out how to decide when the parents disagree on medical treatment.