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  1. #1
    Gwenillian is offline Member
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    Question Joint Custody and Medical

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? WI

    Sorry in advance for the book...

    I understand that both parties have the right to make major decisions regarding the children and that this includes non-emergency health care. My question is do I need my ex's permission before making any appointments on things that he's already agreed to? Additionally, if an appointment is moved by the dr.'s office & I forget to inform the ex, is he now off the hook bill-wise?

    Specifically, my son has asthma & is allergic to many things. He has been seeing an allergist for 6+/- years. Most of the time, I inform my ex of the appointments that have been made. He has never attempted to attend one (he refuses to be in the same room with me unless absolutely necessary - i.e. court), preferring to make his own phone meetings with the doctor if he has questions. About 5 months ago, a standard 'check-up' appointment was moved from its original date by the doctor's office. I put it in my calendar & informed the father that it was moved, but forgot to tell him the new date - I honestly thought I had & just found out last night from reading through pages of old emails that the date wasn't specified. I attended the appointment & informed him about it at the time, including what all had been updated, etc. I sent him the bill as soon as I received it, and never heard back. Now that the bill is past due (I sent a reminder) he is stating that he isn't required to pay for it because I didn't tell him about the appointment before hand - even though I did tell him, I just forgot to include the blasted date.

    This just sounds wrong to me .... our MSA states that non-emergency, non-routine care has to be approved 30 days before so that the other parent can get a second opinion or litigate... but it also states that we both have the right to make nonemergency health care decisions which he says I didn't allow by not giving him the specific date ahead of time.

    I'm confused - help?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
  2. #2
    profmum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenillian View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? WI

    Sorry in advance for the book...

    I understand that both parties have the right to make major decisions regarding the children and that this includes non-emergency health care. My question is do I need my ex's permission before making any appointments on things that he's already agreed to? Additionally, if an appointment is moved by the dr.'s office & I forget to inform the ex, is he now off the hook bill-wise?

    Specifically, my son has asthma & is allergic to many things. He has been seeing an allergist for 6+/- years. Most of the time, I inform my ex of the appointments that have been made. He has never attempted to attend one (he refuses to be in the same room with me unless absolutely necessary - i.e. court), preferring to make his own phone meetings with the doctor if he has questions. About 5 months ago, a standard 'check-up' appointment was moved from its original date by the doctor's office. I put it in my calendar & informed the father that it was moved, but forgot to tell him the new date - I honestly thought I had & just found out last night from reading through pages of old emails that the date wasn't specified. I attended the appointment & informed him about it at the time, including what all had been updated, etc. I sent him the bill as soon as I received it, and never heard back. Now that the bill is past due (I sent a reminder) he is stating that he isn't required to pay for it because I didn't tell him about the appointment before hand - even though I did tell him, I just forgot to include the blasted date.

    This just sounds wrong to me .... our MSA states that non-emergency, non-routine care has to be approved 30 days before so that the other parent can get a second opinion or litigate... but it also states that we both have the right to make nonemergency health care decisions which he says I didn't allow by not giving him the specific date ahead of time.

    I'm confused - help?What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?
    Ok so you forgot to tell Dad the actual date of the new appointment and Dad is being an ass about not paying the bill or his share of the bill. Understood.
    Now tell me is this really worth a battle? If the appointment was for a standard check up, what is Dad's share of this bill? any reason you can't let it go and pay it yourself?
  3. #3
    Gwenillian is offline Member
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    His half is $164. The insurance that he provides only covers a small portion of these visits unfortunately.

    Up until about a year ago, I just paid for most of it because I didn't want to fight with him to get the money. I just can't afford to keep doing that - between the 2-3 yearly visits and all the meds, etc...

    I guess I should also ask - do I need his permission before I make any appointments? This is his allergist - one that the father approved before hand and one of very very few that actually are covered at all by his insurance co in my area. Also, I've always been the one who had to make the appointments as I have primary placement most of the year. When I've been late with one, he's gotten angry & said I was neglecting the children (as I'm sure you can tell, we don't get along well).

    The thing that complicates matters is that unless I send it in an email, he doesn't acknowledge that he was told - so if I left a voice mail or sent a note it doesn't count. That has been used as an example (by him to me, not by court or in court) of me 'taking away his custody or decision making rights'... even when he was informed/asked about something - just not via email. It's rather convoluted I know... so I'm kind of trying to figure out what I am really required/responsible to do & what I need to do to make sure that I don't get in trouble if he tries taking me to court again. So far I don't think I've mucked it up too badly, but this medical thing is a bit of a new one... and I'd just like to make sure.
    Last edited by Gwenillian; 07-25-2009 at 12:51 PM.
  4. #4
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenillian View Post
    His half is $164. The insurance that he provides only covers a small portion of these visits unfortunately.

    Up until about a year ago, I just paid for most of it because I didn't want to fight with him to get the money. I just can't afford to keep doing that - between the 2-3 yearly visits and all the meds, etc...

    I guess I should also ask - do I need his permission before I make any appointments? This is his allergist - one that the father approved before hand and one of very very few that actually are covered at all by his insurance co in my area. Also, I've always been the one who had to make the appointments as I have primary placement most of the year. When I've been late with one, he's gotten angry & said I was neglecting the children (as I'm sure you can tell, we don't get along well).

    The thing that complicates matters is that unless I send it in an email, he doesn't acknowledge that he was told - so if I left a voice mail or sent a note it doesn't count. That has been used as an example (by him to me, not by court or in court) of me 'taking away his custody or decision making rights'... even when he was informed/asked about something - just not via email. It's rather convoluted I know... so I'm kind of trying to figure out what I am really required/responsible to do & what I need to do to make sure that I don't get in trouble if he tries taking me to court again. So far I don't think I've mucked it up too badly, but this medical thing is a bit of a new one... and I'd just like to make sure.
    This is non emergency care. Routine is a big word -- if you have joint custody dad is to be informed and get to approve of all appointments. he cannot do that if you don't tell him about the dates. Technically dad is in the right even though he may just be pushing the issue to be difficult. Joint custody is JOINT decision making -- not you making decisions and informing dad. Dad is correct.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  5. #5
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohiogal View Post
    This is non emergency care. Routine is a big word -- if you have joint custody dad is to be informed and get to approve of all appointments. he cannot do that if you don't tell him about the dates. Technically dad is in the right even though he may just be pushing the issue to be difficult. Joint custody is JOINT decision making -- not you making decisions and informing dad. Dad is correct.
    Dad is correct that he doesn't have to pay his share of the medical bill just because mom forgot to give him the date of the new appointment...for routine care that they both know that the child has to have regularly?

    I completely disagree.
  6. #6
    profmum is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenillian View Post
    His half is $164. The insurance that he provides only covers a small portion of these visits unfortunately.

    Up until about a year ago, I just paid for most of it because I didn't want to fight with him to get the money. I just can't afford to keep doing that - between the 2-3 yearly visits and all the meds, etc...

    I guess I should also ask - do I need his permission before I make any appointments? This is his allergist - one that the father approved before hand and one of very very few that actually are covered at all by his insurance co in my area. Also, I've always been the one who had to make the appointments as I have primary placement most of the year. When I've been late with one, he's gotten angry & said I was neglecting the children (as I'm sure you can tell, we don't get along well).

    The thing that complicates matters is that unless I send it in an email, he doesn't acknowledge that he was told - so if I left a voice mail or sent a note it doesn't count. That has been used as an example (by him to me, not by court or in court) of me 'taking away his custody or decision making rights'... even when he was informed/asked about something - just not via email. It's rather convoluted I know... so I'm kind of trying to figure out what I am really required/responsible to do & what I need to do to make sure that I don't get in trouble if he tries taking me to court again. So far I don't think I've mucked it up too badly, but this medical thing is a bit of a new one... and I'd just like to make sure.
    You have a few options here. First learn from your interactions from Dad. If Dad does not acknowledge anything except via email why the heck would you leave him a VM or note, unless it was an emergency and give him the oppurtunity to talk about a failure of joint decision making?

    Second, you let Dad know that the date had been changed for the recent appointment via email correct? So Dad claiming he does not know that there was a change (albeit not knowing the exact date) and thereby not being informed and thereby not wanting to pay his share is a load of crap.

    So you can either continue to do what you have been doing, which is pay the bills yourself. Or round up all the bills that he has not paid (and that you have either informed of or will need to inform him of), give him a sufficient time to pay them and if he refuses to take him to court for contempt.

    Alternatively, is there any reason you cannot provide alternative/supplemental insurance that provides more coverage than this plan does?
  7. #7
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    Dad is correct that he doesn't have to pay his share of the medical bill just because mom forgot to give him the date of the new appointment...for routine care that they both know that the child has to have regularly?

    I completely disagree.
    Dad was to be told 30 days ahead of the appointment per OP. Which technically did not happen because she did not inform him of the date. TECHNICALLY he is correct.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  8. #8
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwarren1980 View Post
    If the dad knew of the original appointment and knows it was changed , he could have called the dr's office himself and asked when it was changed to. Yet he also chose not to so it didn't seem a big concern to him until it was time for money to be handed over.


    Seems to me mom did make a mistake however dad could have easily gotton the info if he wanted to be there.
    Hence why I said what I said. Technically dad is correct. Mom did not give him the 30 day notice she mentioned.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  9. #9
    starting over is offline Member
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    Just a question to the Seniors for my clarification. From what I understand, Dad was notifiied of the original appointment, he did not contest it. Would it really matter that he was not SPECIFICALLY informed of the date of a re-schedule? I realize Mom should have let him know the date (it appears as just an oversight, not intentional), but Dad could have also asked if he wanted to know.

    Would the fact that he did not contest the original appointment be the same as his approval, no matter when the actual appointment occurred? Just wondering.
  10. #10
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwarren1980 View Post
    But mom did give thirty day notice of the appointment. It was for the same dr , the same thing, the date was just moved by dr's office.


    Dad also already agreed to whatever the appointment was for , which did not change the date did. Dad was also notified the date changed and yet didn't ask for the new date.

    I think dad still is responsible for half the bill or whatever the court order states.
    The date changed and dad was NOT given 30 days notice of the date of the appointment. THAT is the technicality.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  11. #11
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohiogal View Post
    The date changed and dad was NOT given 30 days notice of the date of the appointment. THAT is the technicality.
    I understand that, but it would have been impossible for dad to receive 30 days notice of the changed appointment, unless it was changed to at least another 30 days out. For most medical needs that would not be reasonable or possible.
  12. #12
    Gwenillian is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by profmum View Post
    You have a few options here. First learn from your interactions from Dad. If Dad does not acknowledge anything except via email why the heck would you leave him a VM or note, unless it was an emergency and give him the oppurtunity to talk about a failure of joint decision making?
    The doctor's office called to reschedule for about 1 week out while I was in the car driving to pick up my son. According to the mediator the last time we were in court (which was last fall) we were supposed to be doing a weekly call to each other with this sort of information. True, I usually backed that up with an email to be sure that he couldn't claim I didn't tell him, but this time I left the date out like a putz. I don't really know 100% that I told him on the phone call (which he always has go to voice mail & doesn't respond to), but for a long while I was trying to implement the procedures I had been told would be a good idea.

    I can't reschedule these for 30 days more out, because then he accuses me of being neglectful by not getting our son in on time. To my knowledge, there is not another allergist that our son could have seen in that office. I also can't change doctors without his permission so that probably wouldn't have worked either. Even if he didn't make the neglect accusation, it wouldn't be a good idea to push out the appointment longer than necessary as it was specifically to see if a new medication was working properly & whether or not it needed a change in dosage before our son's prime allergy season.

    Quote Originally Posted by profmum View Post
    Second, you let Dad know that the date had been changed for the recent appointment via email correct? So Dad claiming he does not know that there was a change (albeit not knowing the exact date) and thereby not being informed and thereby not wanting to pay his share is a load of crap.

    So you can either continue to do what you have been doing, which is pay the bills yourself. Or round up all the bills that he has not paid (and that you have either informed of or will need to inform him of), give him a sufficient time to pay them and if he refuses to take him to court for contempt.
    I am not really concerned with prior bills - I took responsibility for those at the time. I do think that he doesn't like having to now help pay & that he's plucking at straws to try to get out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by profmum View Post
    Alternatively, is there any reason you cannot provide alternative/supplemental insurance that provides more coverage than this plan does?
    His plan is actually pretty comprehensive. The payment issue stems from the fact that he wants specific testing done (he wants proof that our son actually has asthma & allergies - he says it is all in my head). This clinic provides that on each appointment (spirometer tests & what not) - I did my best to find a doctor to meet his specifications. His plan does not, however, cover them 100%. As for me purchasing alternative/supplemental insurance, I work for a small co. that does not provide insurance & so I didn't have any at all for myself until about 2 weeks ago - now I have major medical & that is stretching my budget pretty thin already. I can't afford to add on something else & I'm not sure that an insurance company would cover anything for at least the first year anyway (pre-existing condition).

    **edit** Perhaps I should also mention that he's already paid his half of the up-front copay ($20) for this appointment without any fuss as well as the prescriptions that came out of it. He's only balking at paying his half of the non-covered service - the spirometry test? **edit**
    Last edited by Gwenillian; 07-27-2009 at 10:22 AM. Reason: add more information
  13. #13
    Gwenillian is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ohiogal View Post
    Dad was to be told 30 days ahead of the appointment per OP. Which technically did not happen because she did not inform him of the date. TECHNICALLY he is correct.
    Hmm... what it says is that in order for him to half to pay his share, the dad is to be told 30 days ahead of time for non-emergency, non-routine health care - this has been a routine for our son for 6 or so years & I think is considered to be routine for children with asthma in general (although I know some people who have more yearly appointments than we do). But I can see the point that's being made.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative... but it may be helpful for me to know what is routine? If his pediatrician moves a regular school checkup does that need to be 30+ days notice? What about a dental exam? If so, that's fine I guess... just seems a bit odd & more difficult than it should be. Also, then what is emergency - he's previously argued that urgent care does not qualify as emergency - only emergency room does. But, sometimes it's an emergency that can be handled by urgent care & cost less - I just can't schedule it out (because it is urgent - i.e. asthma attack out of control but handle-able by the doctor).

    Also, what does it mean when it says authorization for non-emergency health care - does that mean each individual visit or the care in general - i.e. do I need a yes that he can see this specific pediatrician, allergist, therapist, etc... or a yes that he can see this specific (whatever) on this specific date for this specific reason?

    It also says directly after this line that day to day decisions will be made by the person who has placement - what does that refer to and/or mean?

    Sorry, I'm probably making it way more complicated than it is. I am going to get the approvals for everything via email from now on - I just figure I might as well understand what the thing is saying. lol - it's been 6 years & I still don't get it.
  14. #14
    Gwenillian is offline Member
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    Separate but Related Question

    I have a related question regarding the same child being tested for dyslexia.

    The school would like him tested this fall. I requested in May via email his thoughts/concerns on the matter & never received a response. Can I assume this is agreement at this point or do I need to send something certified or something (certified letters usually get returned unopened)?

    I do not have a date yet as the school that the kids go to doesn't do the testing - someone comes in & sets up the scheduling after the school year begins (I don't really know exactly how that works so am not sure if I'd have a 30 day period to give him). On the other hand, I think it's free & am not sure that it would be considered medical anyway. But most importantly, I don't want to go beyond my limits, I also would rather not cause more problems.
  15. #15
    Isis1 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gwenillian View Post
    I have a related question regarding the same child being tested for dyslexia.

    The school would like him tested this fall. I requested in May via email his thoughts/concerns on the matter & never received a response. Can I assume this is agreement at this point or do I need to send something certified or something (certified letters usually get returned unopened)?

    I do not have a date yet as the school that the kids go to doesn't do the testing - someone comes in & sets up the scheduling after the school year begins (I don't really know exactly how that works so am not sure if I'd have a 30 day period to give him). On the other hand, I think it's free & am not sure that it would be considered medical anyway. But most importantly, I don't want to go beyond my limits, I also would rather not cause more problems.
    i have an NCP that sometimes doesn't respond. i usually word my letters something to the effect of....."this is going to happen, if you have any objections or any interest, you can contact myself or school personnal". this way, you have notified....ball is in the other parent's court to DO something.

    i'd send something certified AND regular mail. if it gets returned, keep in in a file.

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