Florida law treats consent to “mental health treatment” for a child differently from other major decisions responsibility for which parents share.
In 2016, Florida law changed to mandate provisions in parenting plans. – Section 61.13(2)(b)3., Florida Statutes, amended by Laws of Florida 2016-241, requires designating shared parental responsibility in parenting plans that either parent retains the right to consent to mental health treatment for their child.
After July 1, 2016, failure to include in a parenting plan or final judgment a provision that either parent alone may provide consent for a child to receive mental health treatment is legal error. – See, e.g., E.V. v. D.M.V.H., Case No. 2D18-2240 (Fla. 2d DCA May 29, 2019) (parenting plan sufficiently provided either parent may consent to health treatment for child); Lennon v. Lennon, Case No. 2D17-3416 (Fla. 2d DCA February 1, 2019) (remanding for the trial court to include a missing “retained consent to mental health treatment” provision in the final judgment that ordered shared parental responsibility.)
In Puhl v. Puhl, Case No. 4D18-365 (Fla.4th DCA November 28, 2018), parents agreed on a parenting plan that gave the mom ultimate decision making when the dad and she couldn’t agree. Dad alleged mom took the child to therapy the child didn’t need without first consulting him. But, before entry of final judgment, a medical professional diagnosed the child with the condition for which mom sought treatment. The Court held mom’s taking the child to therapy without first consulting dad didn’t support modifying the parenting plan, because the facts supported no finding of a “substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances” occurred.
Howdy, Michael P Sampson