Go to the Source in Your Child Custody Case…
Tough love, today…Why are we asking the Other Side for records or information we can go straight to the source and retrieve ourselves. Do we crave the drama? Are we hoping, on some level, that the Other Side simply won’t give them to us so now we’ve got one more thing you can hold against them? If not, if we’re just trying to be effective as adults, parents and caregivers, we need to quit treating the Other Side like some kind of gatekeeper and go to the source for the information we need to be effective for our kids.
- School Records
This is an easy one. The vast majority of Co-Parents out there have “Joint Legal Custody” even if they don’t have any kind of “Physical Custody.” This entitles you to retrieve and review school records as well as interact with your child’s teachers and school administration.
Furthermore, there’s even a federal law, called FERPA, that enables you to get the school records and educational information you need. Walk into a school office and politely drop the term FERPA and see if you don’t gain instant credibility and get what you need.
Stop complaining about missing school events or PTA nights because the Other Side didn’t pick up the phone and tell you about them. Why on earth would you give the Other Side the power to hurt you with their inaction? Think the Other Side isn’t going to take that chance every time?
- Medical Records
Same thing, pretty much. If you have a base level of knowledge regarding who your child’s treating physicians are, you can probably retrieve what records and information you need. (Even if the Custodial Parent has changed providers, you can probably track down where the previous provider sent records.)
Again, if you have Joint Physical Custody, you might even have equal decision-making authority and can do much more than simply monitor records, but that’s outside our scope here.
If the Other Side won’t even tell you who your child’s healthcare providers are, and we know that happens, you need a lawyer because you are in Child Custody hell and it’s going to get worse, not better, over time. Our team at Foxtrot Family Law or one of our colleagues at another firm can guide you through the process of getting this information and, if there’s that much bad faith going on, doing a lot more than getting you some records and information.
- Insurance Cards and or Social Security Information
Call the insurance company, please. Try going by the Social Security office. “But what if they won’t give it to me?” That’s (a) unlikely and (b) if they don’t they will let you know exactly what information you need to gather and bring back to get the information you need. There’s a lot less you can’t get with a birth certificate and a photo ID than you think.
Of the thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Child Custody orders I’ve read, I’ve seen less than 15 that I would argue prevent any parent, whose rights have not been terminated, from doing everything discussed in this article effectively and without the drama and gnashing of teeth of treating the Other Side as your source of information about your child.
*** What other situations can you think of where parents can go to the source rather than depending on someone else? Thanks for your comments!
This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. If you would like to speak more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can be more effective in your Child Custody case, please visit www.ThinkFoxtrot.com/public_calendars/ to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices. ~SW, Foxtrot