Some people may offer to share their medical history with others comfortably while others might feel uneasy to share this personal information, especially with the court, and especially during divorce, support or custody proceedings.
Medical records can include information from a variety of items, such as routine checkups, physicals, and vaccination status, to treatments for mental illness, addiction, and plastic surgery. These records can be very personal, and having to share them in a case might seem absurd; however, there are multiple areas where medical records might be relevant, including child custody, support, and the ability to work as part of divorce proceedings. Physical and mental health are two very involved topics when it comes to child custody and spousal support, and here’s why:
Child Custody – In child custody cases, the court is looking for evidence that the parents can take care of their children. For example, if a parent is ill or suffers from a disease such as substance abuse, they may not be entirely fit to care for children. Furthermore, mental health problems can also be relevant in custody matters.
It is important to know that mental health records are usually privileged. A party will need guidance from skilled counsel when addressing the request and production of mental health records. Regardless of the issue at hand, the best interests of the children is the most important factor for the court in custody cases.
Support – A person’s ability to work and earn income is of paramount concern in support matters. If an individual has a health condition that limits their ability to work and earn income, that must be considered in support. Opinions from one’s doctor and medical records will be important in support proceedings. An experienced attorney can guide individuals on the information that is needed in these instances.
Divorce – Earnings, income, and the ability to acquire assets in the future are factors for equitable distribution and awards of alimony in a divorce proceeding. A party’s ability to work and earn income may be affected by a medical condition. Information relating to such a medical condition would be relevant in divorce proceedings. An experienced attorney can guide an individual as to the importance of the records.
RELATED: Read these tips to develop a pre-divorce budget.
Whether you feel comfortable or not to share your medical records, it’s important to discuss your options with your divorce attorney so they can provide their recommendations and take the necessary steps to achieve the appropriate outcome for you. If you are approaching a divorce and need someone to help guide you through the steps to protect yourself and your family’s future, and possibly your personal medical history, our attorneys who are well-versed in all family law matters can help. Contact us now to set up a consultation however it is most convenient for you—via telephone, video, or in person.
FAMILY LAW SERVICES
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Mediation in Divorce Matters
Collaborative Law Services