My Ex Isn’t Consulting Me About Health Decisions For Our Son

medical costsQuestion:

Recently, my ex admitted our son into a psych hospital without consulting me and is asking for me to pay half of the bill.

According to our agreement, medical expenses are to be split 50/50. However, there are other things mentioned in the agreement that she does not follow.

Am I required to pay these bills even though I wasn’t consulted and had no input regarding the decision?

Answer:

I am not licensed to practice in your state and cannot provide you legal advice. However, I can give general tips regarding your situation based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

When you reference an agreement or plan, I assume you and your ex-spouse have joint legal custody of your son and, as part of your divorce, you both signed and the court entered a joint custody plan. The decree and joint custody plan set forth the guidelines for issues pertaining to custody, visitation, and child support. Even though the parties may not be following certain provisions of the custody plan, it is still controlling until modified by the court.

Tulsa Divorce Attorney Colby C. Pearce
Tulsa Divorce Attorney Colby C. Pearce

I understand the agreement states that all medical expenses are to be split 50/50, but typically there is a provision requiring the parties to confer before making any major decisions affecting the child’s health, welfare, or education. If your agreement contains such a provision and your ex-spouse routinely fails to consult with you before making these types of major decisions, then you may want to consider filing contempt proceedings or, if the parties are no longer able to co-parent effectively, a motion with the court seeking modification of the joint custody plan.

However, before doing so, you may want to consider whether either of these options will be in your best interest as contempt and/or post-decree modification proceedings typically “open the floodgates” for parties to request various types of changes to the decree and/or custody plan.

Without seeing the terms of your decree and joint custody plan, I cannot answer with certainty whether or not you are required to reimburse your ex-spouse for the medical bill. However, I recommend you speak with an experienced family law attorney in your state to discuss your options.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Oklahoma divorce lawyer Colby Pearce, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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