Let the Other Side Have It! (The Child’s Information, That is)
When Glenn Schenck and Marcia Sue Schenck were divorced back 1998, Marcia received full custody of their child, and Glenn was awarded visitation rights. Yet Glenn was not afforded access to medical and educational records for the child, and he took this issue to court. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that access to information pertaining to a minor child’s medical, dental and school records, may not be denied to the non-custodial parent.
The Schenck decision – and many cases like it – teach a valuable lesson about making disclosures of information to the other parent. Often, parents think they can outsmart each other by withholding the child’s report cards, or delaying giving notice of school performances, soccer matches and other events. This is a bad practice, and it may backfire if a noncustodial parent misses an important event for the child because the custodial parent withheld information. The better practice is to advise the other parent of ALL events affecting the child as soon as you know about them. This includes all school events, recreational activities, competitions and performances, doctors and dentists’ appointments, field trips and the like. The more notice the custodial parent gives to the non-custodial parent, the stronger the argument that the custodial parent exercised good faith, cooperation and joint parenting.
In fact, when a custodial parent makes a prompt and early disclosure of information to the non-custodial parent, and then the non-custodial parent ignores the opportunity to attend the school event or the soccer game, the custodial parent scores points with the court for her early disclosure and collaborative efforts. The non-custodial parent cannot point the finger at anybody else for his lack of participation.