Custody agreements and health care

I have a custody agreement that addresses my child’s health care. How can I make sure I and my child’s other parent understand the agreement?

  • Go over the terms of the agreement with your lawyer. This includes understanding who can call the doctor’s office, who can bring your child for a visit, who can make health care decisions and who has a right to ask for medical records.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent bringing the child to the visit to communicate with the other parent.

How does a custody agreement affect my child’s medical record and health care?

Custody agreements may include how you or the other parent can request to see your child’s medical records. It is important that both parents understand the details of the agreement from their lawyers. Each parent should also clarify if they can call their child’s doctor’s office.

How do I tell my child’s care team about the custody agreement?

Bring the custody agreement paperwork to your child’s next doctor’s visit. The care team will add the paperwork to your child’s medical record. You must update your child’s care team about any future changes made to the agreement.

I have more than one child. How can I make sure each custody agreement is entered into my children’s medical records?

Each child has a different medical record. Hospital staff can enter each child’s custody information into their medical record.

My child sees more than one doctor at MGHfC. How does this affect the custody agreement?

Everyone on your child’s care team can see the medical record. You only need to give the custody agreement once.

What if the other parent and I do not agree on the medical care or the custody agreement?

Talk with the other parent to resolve disagreements. If you cannot agree, you can involve a lawyer. Your child’s care team cannot help resolve any disagreements.

If you are the non-custodial parent

I do not have custody of my child. What should I do if there is a medical emergency?

State law allows either parent to consent to immediate medical care in an emergency. Even if you do not have legal custody of your child, you still have the right to rush your child to an Emergency Department or to call an ambulance in an emergency. You should make sure the custodial parent is notified.

Can I set up a supervised visit at my child’s appointment?

Supervised visitation is meant for the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child. A medical visit is not a good way to spend that time. Hospital staff cannot be supervisors when there are supervised visitation agreements.

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) has legal custody of my child. What should I do when it comes to my child’s medical care?

Talk with your child’s caseworker about any questions you have. You and the caseworker can make sure DCF signs all required consent forms.

Medical records and Patient Gateway

I am enrolled in Patient Gateway. How does this affect my child’s health care?

Patient Gateway (PG) will automatically send information to the parent who has the Patient Gateway account. This includes upcoming appointments, after visit summaries and other information.

I am separated from my child’s other parent, but I do not have a legal custody agreement yet. Can I restrict the other parent from seeing the medical record?

You cannot restrict the other parent from seeing your child’s medical record if there is no formal custody agreement.

How can I get copies of my child’s medical record?

  1. Contact Medical Records at 617-726-2361 for copies of your child’s medical records. Tell them there is an active custody agreement when you request records.
  2. Send a Release of Information Authorization Form to Medical Records. You can find the form and fax number in the link here.

Types of child custody agreements

There are many types of child custody agreements. Each type has its own set of rules listed in the Letters of Appointment and Decree and Order.

The types of child custody agreements include:

    • Sole legal custody. This is when only one parent has the right and responsibility to make decisions about a child’s health, safety and education.
    • Shared legal custody. This is when both parents have the same rights and responsibilities to make decisions about a child’s health, safety and education.
    • Sole physical custody. This is when the child lives with one parent. The other parent can visit if the court decides it is okay to do so.
    • Shared physical custody. This is when the child lives with each parent for a certain amount of time. This way, the child can see both parents.
    • Shared custody implementation plan or court order. This paperwork includes details about the child’s custody agreement and how to solve parenting issues and decisions. It also includes guidelines for the child’s medical care and when he can visit each parent.
    • Child support. Child support is money paid by a parent to help with raising the child if the parents do not live together. In most cases, the parent who does not have custody pays the parent who does.

Learn more about custody agreements here.