After a separation and divorce, the parent with primary physical custody often makes the majority of the day-to-day decisions concerning the child. However, there are certain decisions pertaining to the child that should be made by both parents regardless of who has physical custody of the children. This is not only true for Minnesotans but also for parents everywhere when it comes to child custody.
Many divorced fathers are not as involved as they would like to be in the life and decision-making of their child. In fact, some fathers who don't have physical custody of their children face issues that they didn't count on.
There was a recent case with a father in New York who was not informed about a major medical decision that was made by his ex-wife on behalf of their child. In this case, the mother filed a do-not-resuscitate order without the father's consent.
When the father found out about the DNR order and that he had the legal right to oppose it, he asked the doctor involved to lift the order since his opinion was not considered when filing the order. The doctor allegedly ignored the father's appeal.
Sometimes, the rivalry between divorced couples affects the well-being of their child. If an agreement between the parents is not possible, it is advisable to have the individual parents and the court decide on a parenting plan.
In Minnesota, parents generally are awarded joint legal custody after a divorce. This means that both parents are required to make the major decisions about the child's education and health care. In most cases, physical custody should not determine whether a parent is left out of a major health decision like a DNR. The main point of contention in child custody divorces are usually the physical custody arrangements. A person dealing with divorce or child custody should be knowledgeable about the custody laws to ensure a favorable result for their family.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorced Dads' Rights: Father Fights For Say In Son's DNR Order, Access to Medical Records" Nov. 6, 2012