Now that the weather is getting cooler and outdoor activities are becoming limited, we are at the beginning of the cold and flu season. Even if you and your children have had a flu vaccination, there are still plenty of viruses floating around, and children are especially prone to passing illnesses among each other at school.
So what do you do if it is time for your child to transition to their other parent's home as per your custody agreement and they become sick? You may have a child custody agreement with your former partner that has been working well for everyone, but life has a way of throwing in a monkey wrench every now and then to upset things.
Adapt and Adjust
The first things to consider are the age of the child and the seriousness of the illness. Infants and toddlers tend to need more around-the-clock care when they are sick, whereas older children who are more independent and don't need as much constant attention. Many parents use the standard that if the child is well enough to go to school, they are well enough to change homes. But each parent might have a different definition of that standard, so that might not help.
The distance between the parents' homes should also be taken into consideration. If one parent lives in another city nearby but is still a two-hour drive away, taking a sick child on a brief road trip may not be appealing (especially if the child has a stomach bug). If the parents live in the same area and transitions are easy, transitioning a sick child may not be difficult.
The bottom line is that both parents will have to adapt and adjust when it comes to caring for a sick child. If the child has been at one parent's house for their schedule time and becomes seriously ill, the other parent may have to postpone having the child in their home. Likewise, it is unfair for a primary care parent to always be the one to take care of a sick child, just as it would be unfair to deny a parent their visitation time just because a child has a minor illness.
When it comes to children and co-parenting, communication is important. But it is especially crucial when a child is sick. If a child is taking a prescription medication, both parents should keep a log of the dosage and how often it is administered that they share with each other. Over-the-counter medications should also be logged. Say one parent has been giving a child an over-the-counter pain reliever for a fever, and the other parent ends up taking the child to the doctor. The doctor will need to know about all the medications the child has been on before they can make an informed diagnosis and prescribe another medication.
Dedicated North Carolina Child Custody Attorney
Dealing with a sick, cranky child is challenging, and it can be even more challenging when it's time to transition that child to their other parent's home. Some parents even choose to write a “sick contingency” into their parenting plan, so that any missed parenting time due to an illness is addressed. If you need help working out an arrangement with your ex and want to include a contingency plan, contact Family Law attorney Jay Jerkins or call 919-719-2785 today.