Autism & Custody

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.

A father lost custody of his children, in part, because he refused to stop trying to cure autism through homeopathy. What happens when parents disagree over medical care?

As Canada’s National Post reports: the two children suffer from “severe and profound” autism spectrum disorder. They do not speak, are not toilet-trained or able to dress or feed themselves.

In October, the mother asked a court to stop the father from administering homeopathic treatments because he was “looking for a ‘cure’ for autism rather than trying to find a method of managing autism.”

Homeopathy is an alternative therapy that holds that diseases can be cured by giving patients remedies that cause the same symptoms as the original illness.

The Court found:

“Not only were these treatments not effective, but they had negative effects.”

The court also found that the father refused to administer prescribed antibiotics, and kept the child from his mother while attempting to treat the infection with homeopathic remedies. The child’s infection worsened.

The refusal to administer prescribed medication is serious. I’ve written about custody and medical decisions before. Often times it happens in the area of vaccinations.

In Florida, most parents enjoy shared parental responsibility, a relationship in which both parents retain their full parental rights and responsibilities. Parents are required to make major decisions jointly.

Issues relating to a child’s physical health and medical treatment, including administering medication, are major decisions affecting the welfare of a child.

When parents can’t agree, the dispute is resolved in court using the best interests of the child test. Determining the best interests of a child is based on an evaluation of statutory factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child and the circumstances of the family.

The National Post article is here.