parents need access to info about kids

            Posted on August 7, 2016 

Parents need access to info about kids

Q. I’m in the middle of negotiations with the father of my children. Besides child support, what terms and conditions should I be asking for?


A. You ask a short questions that requires a long answer. So this will be the first of several articles on what to consider having in your agreement. At the end of the series, I’ll pull it all together in one document that you’ll be able to request by email to the Boston Herald.

Because you wrote the “father of my children,” I assume you two did not marry. Several years ago, the state’s highest court ruled that parentage testing is required in all case of unwed parents, even what the male partner dies not contest being the father. Testing avoids someone complaining years later that he learned his is not the dad.

So the first clause should read: “Based on the results of the parentage testing, (the father), who did not contest paternity, by signing this agreement accepts a ruling of the court- and waives all rights of appeal- that he is the biological father of (child) and that the parent-child relationship between father and child is established for all legal and other purposes.”

The next clause is a statement of the joint intention to have a written “parenting plan.” It should contain these typical concepts: “The following provisions relate to the parties’ respective possession (also known as parenting time) of and access to (child) and the parties duties and rights regarding the child, and support of the child.”
Next, instead of using words that have different definitions in different states and countries, type “(Mother) and (Father) are appointed joint managing conservators of their child(ren), (names/s) born (date/s of birth) in (place/s of birth).

Then begin listing the joint and separate duties each parent shall have. It is important for each parent to have access to information about the children without the needing the other parent’s permission. So the next general statement reads:
“(Mother) and (Father), as equal managing conservators of their child(ren) shall each have the following rights and duties:

1. (a) The right to receive all information and access to about child(ren) in connection with all of the child(ren)’s welfare, education and health care, including dental, medical, surgical, psychiatric and psychological. A copy of this agreement shall be deemed sufficient to meet all HIPPA requirements so that all health care professionals are able to provide the child’s medical records; and sufficient for teachers an all others who may have information about the child(ren).

2. Next week’s article will pick up at paragraph 1. (b), describing what each parent must do in case of an emergency, followed by starting to describe additional rights and duties.

To paraphrase Anton Chekhov: All human relations are so complex that, if you think about them, it is terrifying, and your heart stands still.

Your lawyer’s job is to list and explain these complexities so you can face one thing at a time.