Will health records impact my child custody? 25 Answers as of August 05, 2011

I was diagnosed with a terminal illness last week but my x-wife does not know this. I will still be healthy for several years and want to spend them with my kids. Can medical records be found by her lawyer?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Medical records are discoverable. Ultimately, the Court will adopt a plan in the children's best interests.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
It is possible thather attorney could request or subpoena the records, as your health could be a factor the court would look at in creating a time-sharing schedule.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/22/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
They won't necessrily search for them but if the question of health comes up, you would have to disclose.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 7/20/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
That is unlikely, unless you make your medical condition an issue in the case. Your medical records areentitled to protection as confidential documents under the physician/patient privilege unless you tender the issue of your health condition to the Court, i.e., if you claim inability to work due to your health condition, your medical records could be discovered.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/15/2011
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. On the bright side, your desire to live life to the fullest is probably now most extreme. There are confidential issues surrounding your medical records - You control the information and probably should not discuss these confidences with anyone other than your doctor. A good Attorney will be most helpful in managing this issue. The key issue is whether your fitness as a parent is impaired by the illness so as to render you unfit. You may still be a fit and proper parent with assistance - which you are likely going to need personally as well. .
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 7/15/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Records can be obtained by a subpoena. However, usually medical records are not requested in a divorce unless one party is making health an issue - such as not being able to work or pay support due to a health issue.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    I am sorry to hear of your diagnosis. If you are currently healthy and expect that to last for at least several years, it is unlikely that your medical records will become an issue in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    Medical records can be subpenad by the lawyer for your former wife. However, that rarely happens, unless they have some information that would lead them to think there is something in your medical records that would help their case. You say you are healthy and have several years ahead of you so it is highly unlikely the fact you have "a serious illness" will be a major issue in your custody case. OF course, if you become too ill to properly care for the children then that would change things in the future.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Child custody is typically determined by what is in the best interest of the child. Depending on what your health records show, there might be an argument that they would be material
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Certainly there are ways for your ex-wife's attorney to obtain your medical records. However, that assumes that he has some reason to go looking for them. How those records will affect custody or visitation is more of a problem. My reaction is to say that your health condition should not have much of an impact on custody or visitation until such time as a court is convinced that your condition with either impact your ability to care for your child or until your condition becomes a danger to the child's wellbeing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    Mental and physical health can be an issue in any child custody matter, and as such those medical records may be discovered by the attorney for the opposing side. To the extent that there is no obvious problem at the time, or any problem that inhibits your ability to care for your children, the court will extend consideration in order to allow you proper custodial time with your children.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Yes they can. If the lawyer learns of your condition the Lawyer could ask the Court for a Court Order to obtain the records. The fact that you have a terminal illness would infact impact a custody or visitation determination by the Court.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Her attorney may be able to discover your medical records, but it is more difficult than for most other kinds of records as medical records are protected. However, your diagnosis should not be a factor for now, as it is not impacting your ability to parent. Down the road if your ability to parent is impacted, then changes may need to be made.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Your health is a relevant concern in any decision affecting the allocation of parental responsibilities. Whether your specific situation will carry more weight than other relevant information cannot be determined without much more information about your situation. First and foremost is the best interest of your children. Second, potential access to your medical records could only become an issue in future court proceedings to change the existing parenting plan. Since you provide no information about the current parenting plan nor about whether there is any imminent likelihood of further legal proceedings, it is not possible to foresee what your specific questions are. Obviously, however, sooner or later you are going to be forced to disclose your condition to your children and others, so you should consult an attorney and your doctors to develop a plan for when and how to do that with the least harm to your children.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    yes if she is question your ability to protect children, but most likely will be no problem.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/15/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    I am so sorry to hear this. You need a good divorce attorney to go over this with you, and give you some guidance. I would think that if you are only going to be able to be with your children for several years, that you should be able to spend more time, not less, with them.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Sorry to hear of your illness. If you are already divorced and there is no motion then nothing will happen unless she brings a motion. The court can review the health of the parties as follows: (12) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved, except that a disability of a proposed custodial parent or other party, in and of itself, shall not be determinative of custody unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of the child T
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    They are certainly discoverable, however, they are not a standard target. Unless your spouse has reason to have her lawyer request them through requests for production or subpoena, then I doubt your medical records will be sought. That is, of course, assuming there is no other reason to look. Just as all is fair in love and war, all records are discoverable in custody cases because it is not the parties' interest at issue, but rather, the children's. Enjoy and be grateful for each of the days God gives you with your children. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    It is unlikely that anAttorney will look for your medical records, unless you drop some hint regarding why they would be relevant. Even if they tried to subpoena the records, you would have a right to object, and definitely should. Further, since you still have several good years to look forward to, the records are irrelevant. You alone can decide what is important in your life, but it appearsthat your children would be well-served to spend as much time as possible with you, since they areyour priority. Any good Judge would agree. Try to show this to the Courtwith evidence ofyour interest in the children, your fitness as a parent and your desire to be adaily part of their lives. I hope you can spend as much time as possible with your children. Do not easily accept less than 50/50 time, or 'week-on/week-off'. I strongly suggest that you seek a free live or telephonic consulation with an experienced, compassionate Family Law Attorney in your area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    If your wife suspects you are ill, your records can be subpoenaed. But what impact this will have on your divorce is something you should discuss with your domestic relations lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Medical records are not privileged and are subject to a discovery request.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Your health situation as described should not impact your rights to have parenting time with your children. Please talk with an attorney on the best way to share this news with your children and your ex wife. Be sure to have your wills and estate planning in order as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    They may. Custody determinations are made based on what a court believes is in a child's best interests. Certainly the health of a parent and their ability to parent or the impact of the illness on children can be compelling evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Yes, and if normal discovery is filed, you can expect them to ask.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/14/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    In a contested custody/parenting time case, the mental and physical health of the parties is a factor the court must consider. If your illness will not prevent you from caring for the children during your parenting time, then it may not be something that affects the court's ruling; however, you may have no choice but to disclose the illness. I recommend you speak with an attorney about the details of your situation to learn more about your options.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/14/2011
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