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Can I withhold visitation if my child is sick?

Saint Augustine, FL |

It's a long distance between me and my ex. I do have medical authority, but it's not spelled out what that means.

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

I agree with Ms. Jacobs.

Perhaps you can negotiate with the father in good faith. Ask him if you can keep the child this time, and double his visitation some other time (like during summer break so he can take the child to a theme park or something.) Do this with email if possible so you can preserve the evidence of any agreement. If he agrees, make sure you uphold your end of the bargain, and send him copies to sign and return (and keep, for his record.)

Similarly, if he does not agree, email him your objection; but keep to the court order as Ms. Jacobs suggested so that he cannot come after you later.

Courts are predominantly concerned with the well being of the child, not so much the hurt feelings of two adults who cannot get along. If it is reasonable that the child will become even more ill due to travel, then such an agreement may later be ratified by the courts.

Though reasonableness is key: the flu is one thing, the sniffles another.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER This answer is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between any user/reader and The Law Offices of Jimmy Allen Davis, P.L.. We encourage and welcome you to contact us about your legal problems and visit our website at www.lawofficesofjimmyallendavis.com or email me at jimmy.davis.esq@gmail.com.

Asker

Posted

Excuse me if this comment is redundant. I don't know if each lawyer gets our questions and comments individually or not. Thanks for your answer. Let me clarify my question. Of course I wouldn't withhold visitation for a minor illness like a cold. What I'm currently concerned with is the flu. My ex is clueless in regards to child care, and vindictive toward me at the expense of our child. If I told him not to give aspirin (Reye's syndrome) or milk, he would do just that. If our child had a fever and had to travel the 7 hours to his father's, I don't think that would be reasonable, even for a rational parent. Any further advice, please? There's no negotiating in good faith from him. Should I maybe petition for a more detailed explanation of medical authority. One reason I got that is because my ex subjected our child to invasive procedures like vaccines and asthma meds against my will and without telling me until afterward.

Jimmy Allen Davis

Jimmy Allen Davis

Posted

Hmm. This is a complication. You could of course ask for clarification from the court and bring this information with you. First recommendation, you likely need an attorney to be available for you for problems like this. Here would be my quick recommendation for this situation: Accord to the federal government, travelling with the flu is not advised. (http://www.flu.gov/at-risk/travelers/index.html) Since negotiations are out of the question, you may want to make use of your medical authority as vague as it is. There is a little risk that he might try to cause trouble, but I do not believe it would amount to much. Take your kid to the pediatrician (or whoever the treating doctor was.) Ask the doctor if he would give you "doctor's orders" that the kid is diagnosed with the flu and a 7 hour trip is out of the question unless it was an emergency. With that note, you are more likely to be considered within reason to withhold visitation. But, don't stop there. Send the father an email that states you are withholding the current visitation because the doctor gave you a note (scan a copy) and the child needs to be cared for. You should explain that you are using the medical authority granted to you to do this BUT that you still want him to have the same amount of time and so will double up on a visitation later to make up for it (for a Disney trip this summer or something like that.) Also let him know that you will approve this double visitation session to coincide with an upcoming vacation. Same ideas: Keep the best interest of the child in mind; be fair balancing the time withheld along with the made up time later; get it all in writing as best you can; etc. If he wants to make a stink, let him look like the fool. You want to remain reasonable and always looking after the child's best interest. Doing it this way makes you look like a very reasonable parent. That's about the best I could recommend on short notice considering a sick child and little time to go to court. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Dear Mr. Davis, your answer was very helpful. If my child becomes quite ill before a visitation, I'll get a doctor's note, scan and e-mail it to the father, with the offer of make-up time. I was advised by family to try a preemptive attempt at negotiation with my ex. I know he wouldn't agree, so I haven't tried. If our child became sick during a visitation, I would want to retrieve him until he's well, and then make up the time with his father. I'm seriously concerned, again because my ex would never take my advice and do the opposite, but I can't prove that. Again, your answer for before visitation is sound, and I really appreciate it. I'll mark it as "best" :)

Posted

That means that you can make medical decisions for your child without consulting with your ex. For example, if your child needs surgery or some other form of medical treatment. It does not mean that if your child has a cold you are the only one that can care for her. As long as your child is physically able to visit your ex and your ex is able to care for the child while sick there is no reason to withhold visitation.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your answer. Let me clarify my question. Of course I wouldn't withhold visitation for a minor illness like a cold. What I'm currently concerned with is the flu. My ex is clueless in regards to child care, and vindictive toward me at the expense of our child. If I told him not to give aspirin (Reye's syndrome) or milk, he would do just that. If our child had a fever and had to travel the 7 hours to his father's, I don't think that would be reasonable, even for a rational parent. Any further advice, please? Should I maybe petition for a more detailed explanation of medical authority. One reason I got that is because my ex subjected our child to invasive procedures like vaccines and asthma meds against my will and without telling me until afterward.

Posted

Ms. Jacobs offers good advice. If you withhold it better be very serious, or your ex is unable to tend to the child. I would offer n good faith to double up some later parenting time. If it is just the sniffles, suck it up and send the child.

Posted

I agree with my colleagues. Kids can be sick in either parents' home.

This answer was provided as a courtesy to you and no attempt was made to establish any type of attorney/client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Excuse me if this comment is redundant. I don't know if each lawyer gets our questions and comments individually or not. Thanks for your answer. Let me clarify my question. Of course I wouldn't withhold visitation for a minor illness like a cold. What I'm currently concerned with is the flu. My ex is clueless in regards to child care, and vindictive toward me at the expense of our child. If I told him not to give aspirin (Reye's syndrome) or milk, he would do just that. If our child had a fever and had to travel the 7 hours to his father's, I don't think that would be reasonable even for a rational parent. Any further advice, please? There's no negotiating in good faith from him. Should I maybe petition for a more detailed explanation of medical authority? One reason I got that is because my ex subjected our child to invasive procedures like vaccines and asthma meds against my will and without telling me until afterward.

Posted

I agree with attorney Davis and think he has given you the "best answer".

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.

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