In North Carolina, as in most states, the law favors joint legal custody for divorced or separated parents. This means that generally, both parents have equal rights when it comes to making major decisions about their children’s health, education, and welfare.
However, having joint legal custody does not necessarily mean equal time with the children. Often, one parent is awarded primary physical custody while the other parent has visitation rights.
Even if you have primary custody, your ex-spouse still has the right to be involved in important choices regarding your children unless there is a court order prohibiting the non-custodial parent from accessing the records. This includes having access to their children’s educational and medical records.
By law, if you share joint legal custody, both parents should be listed as contacts on school enrollment paperwork, on emergency cards, and at doctor’s offices or hospitals. This ensures both parents can be notified in case of an emergency.
Listing your ex-spouse also allows them to interact directly with teachers, doctors, or other care providers. They can request records, discuss issues or concerns, and be involved in treatment decisions.
What are some exceptions?
There are some exceptions – for example if your ex-spouse has limited visitation rights due to past abuse. But in most cases, both parents should have equal access to school and medical information.
If you are the primary custodian, it can be tempting not to include your ex’s contact information on forms. You may want to control the flow of information. However, this denies your ex’s rights as a legal parent. It can also have legal consequences if your ex takes you back to court over a violation of the custody order.
Making co-parenting easier
Co-parenting after a separation or divorce is rarely easy. But following the law and recognizing your ex’s parental rights is important. Doing so will provide the best care for your children in the long run.
If you are having trouble coming to an agreement with your ex-spouse regarding custody arrangements. Contact a compassionate family law attorney who can advise you on the best course of action in your situation.
Scott Law Group is committed to informing and guiding both parents—moms and dads—about their parental rights. This includes the right of parents to see their children’s medical and academic records. To secure the greatest outcome for you and your children, get in touch with us right away.