Can a non custodial parent take a child to see a pychiatrist without the permission of the custodial parent?

Asked about 5 years ago - North Dakota

My son does not want to visit his "legal" father. He is almost 10 and he has a relationship with his Biological father and I remarried and he has a relationship with him as well. My ex adopted my son when he was 2 and now that he doesn't want to go my ex is threatening to take him to a psyhchiatrist the next time he is in his care. Can he do that with out me present or without my permission?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Jami Milner Turner

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . First, get out your final decree of divorce or most recent child custody order presently in effect. If there have been no modifications since your divorce, the pertinent information should be contained in your final decree of divorce.

    Go through the various child related provisions. There should be a few pages taken up with language regarding the "rights and duties" regarding your son. Review that section and look for language that looks something like, "the right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child." This right can be given to both parents or to one parent.

    This right can be "by agreement," which means your ex cannot take your son to a psychiatrist without your agreement. This right can be "independent," which means your ex can take him to a psychiatrist if he wants to and so can you and you do not need permission from the other parent. This right can also be "exclusive" to you or to your ex. If it is exclusive, then only that parent has the right to your son being taken to a psychiatrist.

    Examples:
    1) [Mother/Father] has the right, subject to the agreement of the other parent, to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child.
    2) [Mother/Father] has the independent right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child.
    3) [Mother/Father] has the exclusive right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment of the child.

    If your order says #1 & #3, I would inform your ex, in writing, that he does not have your permission to take the child to a psychologist or psychiatrist. If he plans to do it anyway, I would consult with a family law attorney. If your order says #2, you may want to consider filing a modification suit to get that changed. Again, I would consult a family law attorney.

    If your order does not seem to say any of these things, then I suggest that you go to a family law attorney who can help you figure out the provisions of your decree or get the proper provisions in place.

    Good luck!

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